Yoga is just as good as physical therapy for the treatment of chronic low back pain according to research recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 320 study participants were randomly assigned to either 12 weekly yoga sessions, 15 physical therapy sessions, or to read an educational book and newsletters on how to manage chronic low back pain. After this, the researchers continued to follow the participants for 1 year, which included a 40-week maintenance phase. During the maintenance phase, yoga participants either took yoga drop-in classes or practised yoga at home. Physical therapy participants took part in physical therapy booster sessions or practised physical therapy at home. The results showed that ‘a manualized yoga program for nonspecific chronic low back pain was noninferior to physical therapy for function and pain’.
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A group of 60 pregnant women were randomly assigned to either an antenatal yoga program or a control group. The antenatal yoga program consisted of a 1 hour supervised yoga class, three times a week, starting at 26 weeks gestation. Compared to the control group, participants in the yoga classes experienced lower pain intensity, required a decreased frequency of labor induction, had a lower percentage of cesarean section and experienced a shorter duration of the second and third stages of labor.
This study looked at the effect of 6 weeks of yoga and meditation on medical students’ levels of perceived stress and sense of wellbeing prior to taking their exams. The results showed a statistically significant reduction in perceived stress after the 6 week yoga and meditation program. After the yoga intervention, self-assessment survey results showed a significant improvement in feelings of peace, focus, and endurance. Improvements in happiness, positivity, personal satisfaction, patience, fatigue and self-confidence were also seen.
Seven weeks of hatha yoga improves mental and emotional wellness, exhaustion levels, and stress levels in the elderly. Researchers comment “Clinicians and health practitioners who work with the elderly should consider yoga as a potential therapeutic modality for improving important aspects of quality of life in this population”.
As little as two weeks of yoga practice can relieve pain and improve mobility in patients with knee osteoarthritis.