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Study Finds New Benefits of Yoga

Yoga has been drastically increasing in popularity in recent years among Western populations due to its many health benefits, including improved flexibility, lower blood pressure and relief of arthritis symptoms. A new study by researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University (OSHU), has found that yoga may also have the power to fight a chronic pain disorder called Fibromyalgia.

The researchers published the findings of their study in the October 2010 issue of the Journal Pain.

Fibromyalgia currently affects between 11 million and 15 million Americans and is often characterized by the following symptoms:

• Muscle pain

• Fatigue

• Tingling or numbness in the extremities

• Morning stiffness

• Headaches

• Memory problems

53 females with Fibromyalgia were recruited for the study, and were randomly divided into two groups. The first group participated in an 8 week yoga program and the other group was given standard medication treatments for fibromygalia.

Before and after the 8 week intervention the participants were asked to fill out questionnaires to evaluate their symptoms.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that yoga reduced a large number of fibromyalgia symptoms. The most impressive results included a 24% reduction in overall pain, a 30% reduction in fatigue and a 42% reduction in depression.

The researchers had previously conducted a study that showed that yoga can be helpful with cancer-related pain as well. As a result of this research, the OHSU Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine will begin offering a training course to teach yoga instructors how to work with those suffering from chronic pain.

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