According to new research conducted at Oregon Health & Science University, yoga exercises may have the power to combat fibromyalgia — a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain. The research is being published in the November 10 edition of the journal Pain and will appear online Thursday, Oct. 14.

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome predominantly characterized by muscle pain and fatigue. It can cause sleep problems and psychological stress. Other symptoms often include morning stiffness, tingling or numbness in the extremities, headaches, memory problems, difficulty with swallowing, and bowel and bladder problems.  Fibromyalgia affects between 11 million and 15 million Americans with 85-90% of the cases in women.  The cause of fibromyalgia is currently unknown, but it is believed that genetics and physical/emotional stress may play a role.

“Previous research suggests that the most successful treatment for fibromyalgia involves a combination of medications, physical exercise and development of coping skills,” said James Carson, Ph.D., a clinical health psychologist and an assistant professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. “Here, we specifically focused on yoga to determine whether it should be considered as a prescribed treatment and the extent to which it can be successful.”

In this study, researchers enrolled 53 female study subjects previously diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The women were randomly assigned to two research groups. The first group participated in an eight-week yoga program, which included gentle poses, meditation, breathing exercises and group discussions. The second group of women — the control group — received standard medication treatments for fibromyalgia.

Following completion of the yoga program, researchers assessed each study subject using questionnaires and physical tests. The results were then compared with testing results obtained prior to the yoga classes. The members of the control group underwent the same evaluations. In addition, each participant in the yoga group was urged to keep a daily diary to personally assess their condition throughout the entire program.

Comparison of the data for the two groups revealed that yoga appears to assist in combating a number of serious fibromyalgia symptoms, including pain, fatigue, stiffness, poor sleep, depression, poor memory, anxiety and poor balance. All of these improvements were shown to be not only statistically but also clinically significant, meaning the changes were large enough to have a practical impact on daily functioning. For example, pain was reduced in the yoga group by an average of 24 percent, fatigue by 30 percent and depression by 42 percent.

“One likely reason for the apparent success of this study therapy was the strong commitment shown by the study subjects. Attendance at the classes was good as was most participants’ willingness to practice yoga while at home,” added Carson. “Based on the results of this research, we strongly believe that further study of this potential therapy is warranted.”

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Comments

Yoga , without a doubt is making a major push here in the states...I wonder how much is faddish and how much will remain sustainable?

Yoga is definitely a widespread activity that has the potential to cure many health problems. Using the mind which is powerful in it's self is amazing.

The funny thought that came to mind is for people just starting out in Yoga, just like any strenuous activity you will be in pain. Great post by the way!

in my opinion yoga is one the most powerful sport in the world actually it make the body do things the mind can't imagine

I agree, that it's a great post, but correct me if i'm wrong, This article don't motivate to take the advatages of yoga. If these kind of information had any impact, there would be no smokers after huge "live-without-a-cigarette" campaigns.
Yoga is a new way of living and i also try to write about it in my blog. I got few e-mails that people decided to take yoga classes after reading some of my posts, but i don't believe they will or if they will not sure about how long.
The problem, i believe, with our society is that we want over-night results. And if after few weeks of yoga we dont feel better, thats a perfect reason to give up.
So the biggest my worry is not what to say (i have a lot to say about this topic), but how to say. Any experiences or solutions?

Awesome post!! I am a firm believer in using the most natural methods possible to deal with this often debilitating condition. Diet, exercise, and relaxation are great ways to help relieve some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Thanks for some great info here.

Following a skiing accident in my 20's I continually suffered with lower back pain. I tried everything to alleviate this, you name it, cortisone, physio, exercise. The only thing that worked for me was yoga. So it's good for Fibromyalgia too, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a bunch of other ailments that yoga is good for. There's the calmness of mind. I'm not at all surprised that it helps depression too.

I've always believed Yoga can cure just about anything as it helps you heal from the inside.

Yoga is a much powerfull relaxation technique. I´ve read about similarly effects with tai chi.

Glad to hear that science supports how I've always subjectively experienced yoga. Even though I don't have fibromyalgia, I find that yoga helps prevent stiffness, depression, and anxiety in me. Go yoga!

Yoga has far reaching benefits, and is helpful with many conditions that aren't even related. Glad to see statistics showing changes were large enough to have a practical impact on daily functioning.

I will be referring back to your article.

I am new to yoga. I've started taking classes at a heated Vinyasa studio and I love it! Not only do I feel good physically, I have also started to experience the mental benefits - meeting challenging moments with my breath and staying focused on the present moment. It doesn't surprise me at all that it's also good for a wide variety of ailments and physical conditions.

yoga is definitely a memory booster because it helps our brain relieve of stress, relax and focus. Through yoga we can improve our power of concentration and our overall health.

"Fibromyalgia is a syndrome predominantly characterized by muscle pain and fatigue. It can cause sleep problems and psychological stress. Other symptoms often include morning stiffness, tingling or numbness in the extremities, headaches, memory problems, difficulty with swallowing, and bowel and bladder problems. Fibromyalgia affects between 11 million and 15 million Americans with 85-90% of the cases in women. The cause of fibromyalgia is currently unknown, but it is believed that genetics and physical/emotional stress may play a role."

whether this syndrome can be cured medically?

Wanted to say thanks for the great post!
I've been practicing yoga for over 15 years and I can attest to its amazing ability to heal the body and mind. I have also seen countless other people recover from very serious health disorders through yoga asana's theraputic aspects. But for me I am most inspired by the way it opens people's heart and mind to find a deeper connection to themselves others and nature around us!

Really appreciate the insight you offered here :)

Its very good to see science and yoga working hand in hand..
As mind and body become more united the healing and physiological benefits will become much more apparent.

This is a wonderful post. Well Done!! I appreciate it.
Yoga is a good meditation. It's fresh our health.

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