More evidence is showing how Yoga helps people with arthritis. In this study the effect of Integral-based hatha yoga in sedentary people with arthritis demonstrated positive results.
There were 75 sedentary adults aged 18+ years with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or knee osteoarthritis randomly assigned to 8 weeks of yoga (two 60-min classes and 1 home practice/wk) or waitlist. Poses were modified for individual needs.
Their health response to yoga was capture in a standard study form. Question included fitness, mood, stress, self-efficacy, quality of life (QOL), and RA disease activity. In everyone completing yoga, longterm effects were recorded at 9 months.
Participants were mostly female (96%), white (55%), and college-educated (51%), with a mean (SD) age of 52 years (12 yrs). Their average disease duration was 9 years and 49% had RA.
At 8 weeks, yoga was associated with significantly higher physical capability, walking capacity, and lower depression. Significant improvements were evident in physical, pain, general health, vitality, and mental health scales. Balance, grip strength, and flexibility were similar between groups.
Twenty-two out of 28 in the waitlist group completed yoga. Among all yoga participants, significant improvements were observed in mean physical capability, flexibility, 6-min walk, and all psychological and most QOL domains at 8 weeks. Most improvements were still evident 9 months later. Of 7 adverse events reported, none were associated with yoga.
The evidence suggests that yoga may help sedentary individuals with arthritis safely increase physical activity, and improve physical and psychological health and QOL.