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Yoga could ease pain of arthritis

Yoga could ease pain of arthritis

Yoga is the exercise of choice for celebs like Madonna and Jennifer Aniston, and offshoots like Bikram yoga have become commonplace in gyms around the world. But it isn't just for supple young folk - scientists have found it can also calm the pain of arthritis.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore looked at a sample group of 75 men and women who suffer with the painful condition. They were split into two; one group participating in two yoga classes a week, plus another session at home. The rest of the participants just carried on as normal.

After two months of the yoga regime, the arthritis eased up by 20 per cent. Energy levels, walking speed, mood and physical function were also boosted. Results have been published in The Journal of Rheumatology.

"For people with other conditions, yoga has been shown to improve pain, pain-related disability and mood," researcher Clifton Bingham explained. "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."

Any arthritis sufferers wishing to take up the sport should speak to their doctor before starting yoga. Hydrotherapy is also recommended in helping ease pain.

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