Yoga Fights Fatigue in People With MS
Yoga Practice May Ease Fatigue Caused by Multiple Sclerosis
June 11, 2004 -- Yoga may be just as good as more conventional
forms of exercise in reducing fatigue caused by multiple sclerosis (MS),
according to a new study.
Researchers found six months of weekly yoga classes together
with home practice significantly reduced general fatigue as well as improved
vitality in people with MS.
Fatigue is one of the most common and potentially disabling
symptoms of the disease, which affects about one in 1,000 people. The cause of
MS-related fatigue is unknown, and there are no FDA-approved treatments for
Researchers say this is the first randomized, controlled trial
of yoga in people with MS and shows that the mind-body exercise is as effective
as traditional aerobic exercise in improving MS-related fatigue.
Yoga Fights MS Fatigue
The study involved 69 people with MS who were divided into
three groups: one taking weekly Iyengar yoga classes along with home practice,
another taking a weekly aerobics class using a stationary bicycle and home
exercise, and a third group with no exercise that served as a comparison
Of the active or hatha yoga techniques, researchers say Iyengar
yoga is the most common practiced in the U.S. The technique uses a series of
stationary positions that employ isometric contraction and relaxation of
different muscle groups. Participants also perform breathing exercises to
promote concentration and relaxation.
The study showed that MS patients in both exercise groups
experienced significant improvements in two different measures of fatigue
(vitality and general fatigue) compared with the control group.
But neither exercise group produced improvements in attention
The results of the study appear in the journal
Researchers say the study shows that regardless of the workout
method, exercise seems to help MS patients reduce fatigue symptoms.
"This is true whether the regular exercise is yoga,
swimming, using a stationary bicycle, or any other physical activity," says
Dennis Bourdette, MD, professor of neurology at the Oregon Health &
Sciences University, in a news release. "Sometimes the effects are quite
dramatic and other times less so. But everyone with MS who exercises regularly