Fighting Arthritis With Yoga

by Wellness Editor – MH

Arthritis gets a lot of media attention, a trend which will only continue as America ages. Though both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are incurable diseases, a recent study indicates relief from these disorders might come from an unexpected source.

Mental and Physical Benefits?

A team of Johns Hopkins researchers has found yoga could be very beneficial to adults with arthritis. This conclusion was based on a study of 75 participants, all of whom were over the age of eighteen. Prior to the study, these adults lead a sedentary lifestyle; in other words, they engaged in little to no physical activity on a daily basis.

The participants had been previously diagnosed with either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis of the knee. They were separated into one of two groups; one grouping was required to attend biweekly yoga classes for a period of eight weeks. These subjects were also asked to practice yoga stretches at home. The remaining volunteers were assigned to a control group.

Both the mental and physical health of the subjects was measured at two separate points; once at the onset of the study, and again after those in the yoga group had completed their eight week program. The differences between the two groups was quite noticeable; compared to their counterparts in the control group, adults asked to perform yoga during the study enjoyed a 20 percent improvements in the following areas:

  • Pain levels
  • Energy levels
  • Mood
  • Physical capabilities and home and work

The Cutting Edge

According to a Johns Hopkins press release, the study is believed to represent the largest randomized trial to focus on this topic. The July 1st, 2015 issue of the Journal of Rheumatology carried the authors’ work. One of the study’s authors, Susan J. Bartlett, noted that the possible therapeutic benefits of yoga are drawing an growing amount of attention. ““There’s a real surge of interest in yoga as a complementary therapy, with 1 in 10 people in the U.S. now practicing yoga to improve their health and fitness,” stated Bartlett. “Yoga may be especially well suited to people with arthritis because it combines physical activity with potent stress management and relaxation techniques, and focuses on respecting limitations that can change from day to day.”

Arthritis is a massive problem in the United States, one that can greatly reduce an affected person’s quality of life. In the coming years, this condition will only become more commonplace; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that 1 in 4 adults will be have been diagnosed with arthritis by 2030.  As burdensome as this issue can be, physical activity can help reign in arthritis symptoms.

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