Among the many benefits of yoga, add pain relief. Harvard Medical School’s Healthbeat offers an excellent article on the physical benefits of yoga. In addition to enumerating some of the many health benefits, one area the article discusses is how yoga can be used in pain management, including studies showing how yoga can help reduce back pain…

In one study, published in the journal Spine, people with back pain who did two 90-minute sessions of yoga a week for 24 weeks experienced a 56% reduction in pain. They also had less disability and depression than people with back pain who received standard care, such as pain medication. The results also suggested a trend toward the use of less pain medication in those who did yoga. When the researchers followed up with the participants six months after the study, 68% of the people in the yoga group were still practicing yoga an average of three days a week for an average of 33 minutes per session. That’s a good indicator that they found yoga to be helpful.

… and arthritis pain:

In a 2014 study of 36 women with knee osteoarthritis, those who did yoga experienced significant improvements in their symptoms compared with women who didn’t do yoga. The yoga group had a 60-minute class one day a week and then practiced at home on several other days, averaging 112 minutes of yoga a week on their own. After eight weeks, they reported a 38% reduction in pain and a 35% reduction in stiffness, while the no-yoga group reported worsening symptoms.

Many yoga proponents say that it can help with alleviating other pains as well, from migraines to digestive distress.

Here are a few low impact, beginner yoga exercises for low back pain

In a prior article, Healthbeat talked about another health benefit: It’s no stretch — Yoga may benefit heart disease. Of course, these aren’t the only health benefits – many people turn to yoga for relaxation, to reduce high blood pressure, to enhance digestion and to improve sleep. Here are some other potential benefits:

  • Reduces stress and tension
  • Relieves pain
  • Increases joint and muscle strength
  • Enhances flexibility, balance and mobility
  • Improves heart health and circulation
  • Strengthens bones
  • Helps weight loss or weight maintenance
  • Boosts energy and immunity
  • Improves sleep

Have you added yoga to your health and fitness routine yet? If not, it might be a good time to give it a try – September is National Yoga Month and the Yoga Health Foundation is promoting one week free at more than 1500 participants during the month.

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