People with rheumatoid arthritis (a condition where one’s immune system attacks and destroys their joints) who practiced yoga showed significant improvements in the way their disease affects them.
In only 12 sessions, people practicing yoga had decreased disease activity and improved overall health scores. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis do not exercise regularly, due to the pain and limited mobility associated with the condition. However, those who do some type of exercise tend to report less pain, and as a result end up being more physically active in the rest of their lives.
And, with only 12 sessions this could be considered a short-term study. Practicing yoga for a longer term could have even further improvements in their condition.
In a similar study, people with fibromyalgia (a condition that causes chronic pain and fatigue) experienced a boost in their quality of life after just 8 yoga sessions.
They had improved quality of life scores (via a survey) and a significant decrease in anxiety levels; anxiety is a key symptom in fibromyalgia.
Both of these studies demonstrate the importance of yoga in 2 health conditions that are extremely prevalent in society today.
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Humeira Badsha, et al. Abstract Number PARE0004; AB0402-HP. European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) 2011 Annual Congress, 26 May 2011.