More Yoga Benefits: Relief for Fibromyalgia

Posted January 21, 2016 by Renee Skuban, MT Clinical / Faculty Supervisor & filed under Holistic Medicine

Practicing yoga benefits a variety of health conditions, including fibromyalgia. Yoga reduces the physical and psychological symptoms of chronic pain in women with fibromyalgia, according to a new study by York University researchers. The study is the first to look at the effects of yoga on fibromyalgia, specifically its cortisol levels in women.

Fibromyalgia, which predominately affects women, is characterized by chronic pain and fatigue. Common symptoms include:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Anxiety and depression

Previous studies have found that women with fibromyalgia have lower-than-average cortisol levels, which contribute to pain, fatigue, and stress sensitivity. In the study, participants’ cortisol levels were elevated following a program of 75 minutes of Hatha yoga twice weekly over the course of eight weeks.

“Hatha yoga promotes physical relaxation by decreasing activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which lowers heart rate and increases breath volume,” says lead author Kathryn Curtis, a Ph.D. student in York’s Department of Psychology.

Participants reported significant reductions in pain and associated symptoms, as well as psychological benefits. “Our findings strongly suggest that psychological changes in turn affect our experience of physical pain,” says Curtis.

Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbal medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.
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