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Why Yoga Can Be Good for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Positive Results From Yoga

Research on yoga for RA is in the early stages. While some studies have shown promising results with better joint health, physical ability, and mental and emotional well-being, the studies were small in size and scope.

In 2005, Bartlett did a study to see if yoga was safe and effective for people with RA and if they felt better when doing it regularly.

After 8 weeks of doing hatha yoga (twice a week with an instructor and once a week at home), people reported feeling much better, both physically and mentally. There were no bad side effects: No one had to stop doing yoga, and no one got worse.

Bartlett says the study was a good first step. She's optimistic that future studies will support her findings. "For many of the people in our study, as they gained confidence in their ability to exercise and listen to their body, they felt more able to try more and different kinds of activities," she says. Some said it changed their life, their relationship with their body, and how they felt about having RA.

The people in the study "enjoyed doing yoga," Bartlett says. "In fact, many of them continued to do it long after the study had ended."

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Reviewed on June 26, 2013

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