Findings of a study on the benefits of yoga on rheumatoid arthritis printed in a periodical, ‘Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience’ reveal that indeed positive outcomes are seen in such patients at the physical and psychological level if they follow an eight week routine of intensive yoga.
The research was headed by professor, Dr. Rima Dada, working in the Department of Anatomy at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.
Rheumatoid Arthritis being an autoimmune disease has no permanent cure and can be only managed through varied medications. Yet, the recovery is majorly determined by psychological factors according to Dr. Dada. She along with her team undertook a research in ascertaining if a body-mind intervention through yoga could offer some relief in this context.
A study group of 72 rheumatoid arthritis patients was divided into two categories. Both categories continued taking their prescribed rheumatoid related medications but one of them underwent a five times per week intensive sessions of yoga lasting for almost two hours. This continued for two months during which this category was monitored for severity of depression and disease activity.
From evaluation it was clear that yoga had indeed made a great difference! The markers of inflammation, neuroplasticity, cellular aging and cellular health had improved considerably. Yoga had worked at the cellular and molecular level to make an impact on the immunological tolerance and lead to lowering the levels of depression greatly.
Rheumatoid arthritis which involves a psychological aspect will be positively benefited if yoga is included as an add-on therapy, was the conclusion inferred by Dr. Dada and her team. She explained further that yoga is responsible for strengthening the mind which in turn positively enhances the functioning of the body and alleviates the symptoms through varied downstream pathways. Subsequently, immunological tolerance comes about naturally.
She added that additional studies had to be undertaken to ascertain the possibility of mechanisms causing the collective effect of yoga on several conduits at cellular level.