Researchers at Johns Hopkins found that people with arthritis who practiced yoga had about a 20 percent improvement in physical health with similar improvements in pain, energy, mood and carrying out day-to-day activities and tasks, Health News Digest reported.
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability. One in five adults live with the condition, most of whom are under 65 years of age.
“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,” researcher Susan J. Bartlett, an adjunct associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and associate professor at McGill University , said in a statement. “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.”
For the study, researchers collected and analyzed data from 75 people with either knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Participants were randomly assigned to either a wait list or eight weeks of twice-weekly yoga classes, plus a weekly practice session at home. Participants’ physical and mental wellbeing was assessed before and after the yoga session by researchers who did not know which group the participants had been assigned to.
Researchers found that compared with the control group, those doing yoga reported a 20 percent percent improvement in pain, energy levels, mood and physical function, including their ability to complete physical tasks at work and home. Their walking speed also improved.