By Sangeetha Saran
Chair and Restorative Yoga teachers should research the needs of arthritis sufferers as the demand for therapeutic applications is growing. According to studies by leading researchers, Yoga can be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis.
Arthritis is a chronic condition, which falls into two broad categories: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis results from the wear and tear that comes from age and from repetitive use or injury of the body’s joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an immune disorder that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. Both cause pain and limit mobility.
Yoga training helps arthritis sufferers in several ways:
• It improves flexibility and range-of-motion. Arthritis often makes exercise painful and difficult, but inactivity shortens muscles, causes spasms, and disturbs the body’s natural alignment. Yoga can help to alleviate this debilitating cycle.
• It improves balance and overall posture. Conditions, such as scoliosis or ruptured disks, can create stress on joints and cause further deterioration. Appropriate poses (asanas) help to manage these conditions and make arthritis sufferers more aware of incorrect posture and activities that cause misalignment.
• It improves circulation of blood and lymph, forcing out toxins and replacing them with oxygen and nutrients. The movement of lymph, also, helps to strengthen the immune system.
• It massages the organs and helps to manage or prevent some diseases. It, also, heightens general health awareness and makes individuals more likely to notice subtle changes in the body.
• It calms both the mind and muscles, creating a sense of well-being and reduces the risk of muscle spasms caused by tension. It increases tolerance to pain and may alleviate some kinds of chronic pain.
• It teaches meditation and proper breathing techniques, which benefit the mind, body, and spirit.
• It helps to control weight and promote good sleep habits.
• It improves core strength, increases endurance, and raises the energy level.
• It improves moods and aids in the management or prevention of anxiety and depression caused by chronic illness.
An individualized exercise regimen is important for every arthritis sufferer. While specific poses may increase flexibility, they should generally be maintained for 20 seconds, if flexibility is the goal. If strength is the goal, Yoga asanas should be held longer than 20 seconds up to a minute or minutes.
When available, the application of moist heat or massage before doing Yoga asanas can make muscles more flexible and less prone to injury. Nevertheless, the proper use of Yoga shows great promise in the treatment of arthritis. Yoga teacher training research papers and case studies are needed to compensate for the lack of funding by the world’s governments. Yoga is a cost effective solution to meet the demands of a global need.
© Copyright 2011 – Sangeetha Saran / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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