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Sunday 24th June 2018

Yoga 'helps rheumatoid arthritis'

13th February 2009

Researchers in the United Arab Emirates have found that yoga exercises help those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.


The pilot study led by specialist rheumatologist Humeira Badsha at the Dubai Bone and Joint Centre found that 12 sessions of yoga significantly improved the conditions of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.

Presented to the 13th Congress of the Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology in Yokohama, Japan, Badsha's study gave Raj yoga sessions to 26 RA patients.

A control group of 21 demographically similar patients took no yoga, only regular medication.

Raj yoga focuses on the cultivation of the mind using meditation.

The sessions were modified for arthritis patients by two practititioners.

Badsha said the study showed potentially important physical and psychological benefits for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

The study was funded by the Emirates Arthritis Foundation, which has taken a lead role in the education and well being of arthritis patients in the UAE, since its launch in 2006. 

Badsha's team found statistically significant improvements in RA disease parameters and especially Health Assessment Questionnaire scores.

Some patients in the yoga group were able to decrease or discontinue RA medications after the sessions.

Badsha said a longer duration of yoga treatment could yield even more significant improvements.

Three patients discontinued steroids, one discontinued Etarnecept, and two discontinued Methotrexate, all because of clinical improvements following the yoga sessions.

The 47 patients were age over 18 years and were diagnosed with RA according to American College of Rheumatology criteria.

Badsha has previously conducted research on Lupus and Autoimmune diseases and presents papers annually at the American College of Rheumatology, European League Against Rheumatology, and Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology.


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Jane Lorimer

Wednesday 25th February 2009 @ 16:50

I am a McTimoney Chiropractor and strongly recommend yoga or Pilates to most of my patients. A woman who had been signed off work because of her RA, joined the Pilates class I go to and within 3 months was off all her drugs and fully active again - and her self-esteem is transformed.
Please will someone do a study where GPs recommend joining a yoga or Pilates class and one of the outcome measures is how much money this saves the NHS!

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