Arthritis RX: Yoga

Arthritis RX: Yoga

Arthritis RX: Yoga

The largest randomized clinical trial of yoga’s effect on arthritis, published in the Journal of Rheumatology, reveals it could be good medicine.

“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,” says Susan J. Bartlett, PhD, an adjunct associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and associate professor at McGill University. “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.”

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75 people with knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis were assigned to either a wait list or eight weeks of twice-weekly yoga classes plus a weekly practice ession at home. Compared with the control group, those doing yoga reported a 20% improvement in pain, energy levels, mood and physical function including their ability to complete physical tasks at work and home. Improvement was apparent nine months later.

Clifton O. Bingham III, MD, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, says the idea for the study grew out of his experiences treating patients with arthritis. “It was watching what happened with my patients and the changes in their lives as a result of practicing yoga that got me interested in the first place.”

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ReferenceS. H. Moonaz, c. O. Bingham, L. Wissow, S. J. Bartlett. Yoga in Sedentary Adults with Arthritis: effects of a Randomized controlled Pragmatic Trial. The Journal of Rheumatology, 2015; 42 (7): 1194 DOI: 10.3899/jrheum.141129
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