Yoga said to ease arthritic pain

Yoga can help relieve the pain and psychological distress of arthritis, according to new research.

The study surveyed hundreds of patients with either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, who started doing yoga for up to 16 weeks. They showed evidence of reductions in pain, less morning stiffness, better physical function and lower levels of depression.

The authors wrote: “By stretching the muscles, yoga can provide physical relief of symptoms around the affected joints.”

“Yoga reduces stress, which is known to exacerbate arthritis. Yoga can improve coping and, by altering perspective toward life, provide spiritual solace,” they added.

Additional large-scale studies were recommended by the scientists to further explore the benefits of yoga for those with arthritis. They also advised creating a checklist of key exercise and breathing techniques used in yoga that would be advantageous for arthritics.

Approximately 1.5 million people in the UK see their GP every year about osteoarthritis, which mainly affects the knees, hips, spine and hands, whereas rheumatoid arthritis is common in hands, feet and wrists.

The full findings can be viewed in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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