Arthritis being a chronic illness, does not come with many therapy options. Scientific Researches Prove that Yoga is one of the best complementary therapies available for Arthritis patients.

In this article, we tried to compose some of the key benefits of Yoga supported by systematic reviews, random clinical trials and focus group studies conducted among Arthritis patients and others in the past decade.

Reduce Stress and Exhaustion Levels – The perceived stress for Arthritis has been detrimental to the patients. Yoga has been proved to have positive impact and improves mental wellness while reducing stress levels and exhaustion (especially for elders). Yoga if practiced continuously can help to improve the quality of life. Reduction in stress can give a great deal of peace of mind to the affected patients and help them manage their pain in a better way.

Better Physical Function – Another focus group conducted among 589 participants with Osteoarthritis (OA) has concluded that Yoga intervention helps to improve strength, flexibility, balance and endurance of the people. The study also concluded that the swelling, stiffness and pain associated with the OA affected patients have significantly reduced.

Manage Pain – One of the most sought out reason for Yoga is the increase in ability to manage pain caused by this chronic disease. Even if Yoga is not going to help anyone to reduce their inflammation, swelling or pain, one can feel the benefit just by increasing their energy level to cope up with the pain. Reduction in stiffness can help them sit through their day to day activities while being peaceful. Just by relaxing the joints, many patients have reported significant reduction in general pain and aches.

Improved Sleep QualityResearch conducted by Perry and his associates have proved significant correlation between poor sleep quality with fatigue and pain caused by fibromyalgia. Another research suggested that non-restful sleep can result in heightened pain. So it is highly advisable for people with chronic illness to get restful sleep. Yoga has been proved to have noteworthy effect on increasing sleep quality as proved by different studies (study 1, 2 & 3). These studies suggest Yoga can impact mental health while providing restful sleep. So you can benefit from Yoga to get a restful sleep which in turn would help to ease pain caused by Arthritis.

Weight Loss – Weight management is another major influencing factor in pain management for people with osteoarthritis.  Substantial weight loss seems to have positive effects in reducing the knee – joint loads. In fact, research done by Stephen and his associates have proved that 1 pound of weight loss has contributed almost 4 fold of pain reduction among the 142 overweight patients with knee osteoarthritis. Increasing number of research studies prove that Yoga has high positive correlation with weight management. If practised correctly, certain forms of Yoga poses along with good food plan can help reduce / balance weight. Thus, Yoga can also help to manage weight while keeping your pain under control.

Best Alternative Physical Activity – Increasing number of research reports suggests that increase in physical activity has positive impact in reducing the symptoms of Arthritis. Regular exercise has proven to be beneficial for RA patients. Especially exercises with low intensity has been proven to be most beneficial. In spite of the benefits, only small portion of people with RA actually get involved in regular physical activity due to their limitations (including impaired mobility, pain or lack of regular exercise regime). In such scenarios, Yoga comes as a reservoir to complement the requirement to have less intense physical exercises taught with breathing and relaxation practices. The musculoskeletal and mental health benefits are recognised by many research studies (Evans et al., 2009 & Birdee et. Al., 2009). Increased awareness and growing interest among RA patients have yielded special forms of Yoga (tweaked for people with disabilities) and also the availability of props in the market. Thus, Yoga can be the best regular physical activity for people with Arthritis.

Yoga is one of the best available complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapy for Arthritis patients.  Research indicates, the interest among people with Arthritis have increased for Yoga. If you have symptoms of Arthritis or similar chronic illness, now is the time to test Yoga as your CAM therapy. Having said that, Yoga should only be practiced with a certified therapist who has experience in teaching people with chronic disease. Your limits on mobility, cervical instability should be taken in to account while designing suitable poses for you. Always lookout in the flyers from yoga instructors whether they are providing customized solutions. Yoga can yield best results if followed with modifications suitable for individuals instead of one size fits all formula. Iyengar Yoga and Hatha Yoga are the most popular forms followed by Arthritis patients. Iyengar Yoga seems to have flexible positions and added props for people with Arthritis. But that shouldn’t limit you to try other forms of Yoga which might be suitable for your physical conditions.

 Let us know your feedback and experience with Yoga in the below comments.

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