How 8-Weeks Of Yoga May Improve Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis


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The modern-day lifestyles are characterized by stress. The majority of young adults and teenagers do not even have the time to take care of themselves due to their extremely hectic routines. This has caused a number of different issues including effects on mental health.

There a couple of reasons for this happening including less time for concentrating on diet and exercise. While diet may be managed with the flow of specific foods due to the developments in the health industry, getting enough physical activity is harder in comparison.

Consequently, people have started considering alternative options for their exercise. Many may even learn new skills that involve physical activity to fulfill their daily requirement. Another popular choice among young adults is yoga.

Yoga has been known for centuries for its many benefits. It will not only help with exercise but also may help manage various health conditions, allergies, and infections. In fact, new research suggests that a mere eight-week yoga session can also help in improving the mental and physical effects of rheumatoid arthritis.

The research was led by Dr. Rima Dada, Ph.D., who is a professor in the Department of Anatomy at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that can only be managed through drugs and therapy. Till now, there is no proper treatment for it. Around 1.3 million people in the United States alone are affected by this condition and the numbers keep increasing worldwide.

The new paper aims to see whether a yoga-based mind-body intervention may help in managing the psychological effects such as depressive episodes as well as potential remission. The findings of this study are published in the journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.

Read the study here. 

How Was the Research Conducted?

To study the potential effects of yoga, the team of researchers looked at seventy-two patients who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and were also enrolled in a yoga class. These participants were then divided into two groups, both of which continued to take their prescribed disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

One of these two groups also practiced a 120-minute yoga session, five days a week for two months. The scientists observed effects in both of the groups.

In the yoga-practicing group, there were two main outcomes that were noted – its effects on the activity of the disease and the drugs, and the mental health or severity of depression.

For example, the scientists noted that there were improvements in neuroplasticity, inflammation, cellular health, and cellular aging in the patients who did yoga. Dr. Dada and the team comments on these findings, saying:

“Yoga, a mind-body intervention re-established immunological tolerance by aiding remission at the molecular and cellular level along with significant reduction in depression. Thus in this inflammatory arthritis with a major psychosomatic component, yoga can be used as a complementary/adjunct therapy.”

What Are the Future Prospects?

Although the lead author and the team agree that further research is required in the matter, they also claim that the research provides evidence that yoga can improve depressive episodes in patients of RA as well as potentially making the treatment more effective.

They explain how yoga works in the words:

“Our results provide evidence that yoga positively modifies the pathobiology of autoimmunity at cellular and molecular levels by targeting mind-body communications”

Till then, people can definitely indulge in yoga to improve RA-related pains and to manage mental health. It will surely also provide many other benefits for health.


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Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Literature graduate with expertise in Creative Writing. Her writing interests are mental health, ethics, and news reporting. You will find her work associated with relevant research and references that shows her passion for delivering authentic information to readers.

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