(ARA) - More and more people are performing the age-old practice of Yoga. Yoga can stretch you, it can relax you and now it may help people with arthritis. According to the American Yoga Association (AYA), Yoga may help people with arthritis deal with pain and stiffness, improve range of motion and increase strength for daily activities.
One of the most common forms of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which affects approximately two million Americans, of which more than 75 percent are women. RA is a chronic, autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks healthy tissue lining the joints, leading to pain, deformity and disability that may be permanent. Now available is a first-of-its kind online Yoga guide specifically for people with RA, developed by the AYA, in collaboration with the Arthritis Foundation and support from RAacademy.com.
For thousands of years people have used Yoga to build flexibility and strength, improve concentration, relieve stress and increase energy. Today the benefits of Yoga may extend to people with RA. According to a pilot study published in the British Journal of Rheumatology, people with RA who participated in a Yoga program over a three-month period experienced greater handgrip strength compared to those who did not practice Yoga.
"People with RA may benefit from low-impact exercises like Yoga to help improve overall health and fitness without further damaging or hurting the joints," said Dr. Cheryl Lambing, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California Los Angeles. "Physical activity may optimize both physical and mental health and plays a vital role in disease management."
The unique Yoga guide, Remain Active with RA, encompasses traditional Yoga poses including range-of-motion, muscle strengthening, and endurance exercises - the three major forms of exercise typically prescribed for people with RA. Each exercise contains detailed photographs and instructions indicating the proper way to perform each movement, with variation of exercises based on disease severity. It is important for people with RA to speak to their physician before embarking on any new exercise program.
"With my rheumatoid arthritis, I never thought I would be able to do an exercise like Yoga," said Lynn McKenzie-Collins, Ph.D. "I am now reassured that there is a Yoga guide tailored for people with my disease that may help my pain and stiffness."
The Remain Active with RA Yoga Guide is offered free exclusively at www.RAacademy.com and can be accessed when visitors to the site register. RAacademy is a disease web site, sponsored by Aventis Pharmaceuticals that provides RA-related news and information to people with the disease and their families. In addition to the Yoga guide, the site features self-care tools and tips for living with RA.
Courtesy of ARA Content, www.ARAcontent.com; e-mail: info@ARAcontent.com