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Osteoarthritis and Yoga

Read more about Yoga.

Effect of Yoga on Osteoarthritis

The practice of hatha yoga goes beyond exercise, however. Special breathing techniques are almost always part of the process; in fact, some forms of yoga focus primarily on breathing, and therefore overlap with traditional breathing practices generally known as pranayama. Because hatha yoga originated in traditional Hindu spiritual practice, it can involve meditation, chanting, as well as philosophical and religious introspection. However, completely secular versions of hatha yoga are widely available.

Hatha yoga is believed by its practitioners to provide benefits above and beyond simple exercise. For example, certain asanas are said to address specific health problems. However, there is only minimal scientific evidence that the practice of hatha yoga actually provides any well-defined medical benefits.

This and other mind/body techniques (like tai chi) are being studies as effective treatments for many health conditions, including osteoarthritis.

Research Evidence on Yoga

Some studies are finding that hatha yoga can be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis.117,173,183,193

Side Effects and Warnings

#Safety Issues

Hatha yoga is generally at least as safe as any other stretching-based exercise program. However there are a few hatha yoga positions, such as the headstand, that can cause injury when they are performed by a person who isn’t yet sufficiently advanced in yoga, or who has certain health problems, such as a detached retina. A properly qualified instructor can help you avoid injury, taking your own individual health status into account.

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  1. Garfinkel MS, Schumacher HR Jr, Husain A, et al. Evaluation of a yoga based regimen for treatment of osteoarthritis of the hands. J Rheumatol. 1994;21:2341-2343.
  1. Fernandez Lopez JC, Ruano-Ravina A. Efficacy and safety of intraarticular hyaluronic acid in the treatment of hip osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2006 Sep 14. [Epub ahead of print]
  1. Brismee JM, Paige RL, Chyu MC, et al. Group and home-based tai chi in elderly subjects with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Rehabil. 2007;21:99-111.
  1. Lee MS, Pittler MH, Ernst E. Tai chi for osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Sep 14. [Epub ahead of print]

References

  1. Garfinkel MS, Schumacher HR Jr, Husain A, et al. Evaluation of a yoga based regimen for treatment of osteoarthritis of the hands. J Rheumatol. 1994;21:2341-2343.
  1. Fernandez Lopez JC, Ruano-Ravina A. Efficacy and safety of intraarticular hyaluronic acid in the treatment of hip osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2006 Sep 14. [Epub ahead of print]
  1. Brismee JM, Paige RL, Chyu MC, et al. Group and home-based tai chi in elderly subjects with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Rehabil. 2007;21:99-111.
  1. Lee MS, Pittler MH, Ernst E. Tai chi for osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Sep 14. [Epub ahead of print]

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