New Study Reveals That Yoga Improves Mood And Arthritis Symptoms

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By Kirsten Cowart

According to a new study, Yoga has been found to help people’s moods and reduce symptoms of arthritis!

Researchers such as John Hopkins published their new findings in the Journal of Rheumatology, stating that people with the 2 most common types of arthritis would benefit from a yoga practice. They found that yoga is both safe and effective in reducing symptoms.

An 8 week yoga class was found to be effective in helping people with knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis to improve their mental and physical wellbeing. This study is believed to be the largest of the randomized trials to examine how yoga affects you physically and psychologically in order to improve the quality of life in those who struggle.

Yoga Is Becoming Incredibly Popular In U.S. With Its Awesome Health Benefits

“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 adjunct associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins, Susan J. Bartlett, Ph.D.

“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 The Leading Cause Of Disability In The U.S.

1 in 5 adults suffer from arthritis; most of those who suffer from it are under the age of 65. Arthritis is a miserable condition that affects not only your mobility, but your overall health and wellbeing as well. There are treatments that help the condition.

90% of people who have arthritis are less active than the recommended daily activity levels. This is mostly due to increased stiffness and pain, but is also because these people haven’t been told about options, like yoga, that will help them improve in a gentle way.

My Story And Experiences With Yoga

When I was 24, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my lower back. My lowest disc was giving out and the doctor said that I had the lower back of a 60 year old. Trust me, that is something that no one wants to hear when they are 24. He told me that they would eventually have to fuse my lower spine and that the problem would keep moving up my back for the rest of my life.

I was to the point where I had to walk with a cane before my first micro surgery and was told that I would also most likely have to live on pain meds my entire life.  Refusing to live that way, I learned to manage my stress and mood with meditation, which greatly reduced my symptoms of pain and sciatica.

More recently, a friend extended to me a 30 day yoga challenge that completely changed my life. I found that my mood and emotional balance was much more stable, my joint pain decreased and my mobility increased.  

After the 30 day challenge ended, I kept doing yoga nearly every day thereafter. I have found that the results are so significant, I need it to be apart of my life in order to be at my best mentally, physically and emotionally.  

The Yoga Study

75 people with the 2 major forms of arthritis were studied and assigned to a waiting list or an 8 week yoga class. The class encouraged home practice and was held twice a week.

When those who did yoga were compared to those who did not, they found a 20% improvement in the energy levels, pain control, mood, physical function and ability to complete tasks at home in those who practiced yoga.

Other improvements such as walking speed also improved to a smaller extent in those who were in the yoga group. There was very little difference in balance and upper body strength, but the improvements from the yoga class were still visible 9 months after the study.  

Associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University and director of the Arthritis Center at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Clifton O. Bingham III, M.D., said that they decided to do the study, because of his own experiences with patients. “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.”

Safety Is Always First When It Comes To Your Health

“For people with other conditions, yoga has been shown to improve pain, pain-related disability and mood, says Professor Bingham. “But there were no well-controlled trials of yoga that could tell us if it was safe and effective for people with arthritis and many health professionals have concerns about how yoga might affect vulnerable joints given the emphasis on changing positions and on being flexible.”

“Our first step was to ensure that yoga was a reasonable and safe option for people with arthritis. Our instructors were experienced yoga therapists with additional training to modify poses to accommodate individual abilities.”

Those who participated in the study were screened by a doctor to make sure that yoga would be safe for them to participate in. They encourage those who struggle with arthritis to check with their doctor before beginning their own practice as well.

Talk with their doctors about which specific joints are of concern and about modifications to poses,” suggests Bingham. Find a teacher who asks the right questions about limitations and works closely with you as an individual. Start with gentle yoga classes. Practice acceptance of where you are and what your body can do on any given day.”

Do you practice yoga? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below and how it has affected your life.

 

Sources:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Yoga improves arthritis symptoms, mood, study finds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 September 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150915141149.htm>.

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Kirsten Campbell
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Kirsten Campbell

Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
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