Arthritis causes painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. It is a disease that is commonly felt with each and every move of the body. While it varies in severity, arthritis can cause a significant decrease in a person’s mobility. With an increasing number of people (approximately 52.5 million adults) suffering from this chronic illness, doctors are rushing to find cures and treatments that help alleviate some of the pain caused.
Surprisingly, recent studies have shown that yoga may be a valuable and successful way for patients to reduce arthritic symptoms. Yoga involves a set of theories and practices originating from Southwest Asia focuses on the unification of mind, body, and spirit, through physical movements. This practice is more than just your everyday exercise, and aims to cultivate a spiritual relationship between the individual and his/her environment.
When western societies started to adopt yoga into their culture, the spiritual aspect of this practice became less prevalent, but there are still elements of spirituality that promote body/spiritual consciousness and awareness in today’s yoga classrooms. As it becomes more and more popular, different varieties of yoga have been created, all similar in the fundamental purpose but still differing in the execution of moves and meditation styles. Hatha yoga, for example, emphasizes postural alignment, strength, endurance, and balance while also focusing on meditation and relaxation techniques. It works on building core strength while also providing students with mental exercises to divert attention away from focusing on the physical pain felt during training. It teaches people to channel that energy into a more positive and spiritual avenue.
Cobra Pose A Recommend Pose for Arthritis Patients
Yoga as a Part of Arthritis Treatment
In a study where researchers focused on adults with severe arthritis, integral hatha yoga had a significant effect in increasing the participants’ movements, physical health, and overall mental health. The results of this study suggest that yoga may be a valuable component of a complete arthritis treatment plan.
When suffering from arthritis, the worst thing you can do is to not move or exercise the inflamed joints. Neglecting to exercise these parts of the body only further increases the painful symptoms and makes the joints stiffer than before. With that being said, when you are constantly experiencing sharp pains with every movement, there is no incentive to keep those joints in motion.
This is where yoga becomes a huge game changer. It allows for arthritic patients to move at a rhythmic and slow pace, while increasing in complexity and endurance as the person’s strength and flexibility increases. In other words, yoga allows for a gradual process in the movement of inflamed joints. Yoga also acknowledges the psychological aspect of this disease and trains the brain to fight past pain signals.
Although more studies need to be done on a larger scale and with varying versions of yoga, preliminary studies do show hope for those suffering from painful arthritis.