(NaturalNews) Those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis know the joint pain and stiffness can interfere with many of their favorite activities. Often, the pain of arthritis will make exercise less enjoyable, so those with this condition may be tempted to give up being active. However, doctors suggest that one of the best remedies for rheumatoid arthritis pain is movement. This leaves many people wondering what their best option is: how do they remain active without risking more pain? One excellent and effective option is yoga.
Several clinic and university studies have shown that yoga is an excellent and effective way to relieve arthritis symptoms. The British Journal of Rheumatology published a study in 1994 which showed arthritis symptoms improving in patients who practiced yoga. The Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America published two studies in 2002 which detailed the relief of joint stiffness and pain for those who regularly practice yoga.
Yoga is a low-impact exercise, so it puts very little strain on the joints. This alone makes it an ideal activity for those with rheumatoid arthritis, but there are many more advantages for practicing yoga. Yoga promotes strengthening and stretching the body, and also supports relaxation and proper breathing. All of these benefits can help with rheumatoid arthritis pain. Doing yoga also improves blood circulation to joints, which relieves pain and inflammation. There are many poses which can relieve pain in specific areas like the hands or hips.
Since rheumatoid arthritis is the result of the immune system damaging the joints, yoga provides even further benefits for those suffering from this type of arthritis. Practicing yoga helps balance all of the body's systems, including its immune defenses. Correcting immune system problems can greatly reduce the instance of pain related to rheumatoid arthritis.
You can easily take up yoga in the privacy of your own home. There are a variety of yoga books and DVD programs geared toward those with joint pain. Combine these with a thick yoga mat and some relaxing music for a complete yoga experience.
If you're not sure about starting yoga on your own, see if you can find a local class. Yoga instructors can offer assistance to the beginner, and will also show you which poses provide the most benefits for your level of fitness. Some gyms and health centers also offer yoga classes specifically tailored for those suffering from chronic pain.
Remember to listen to any resistance in your body when practicing yoga. This is good advice for anyone who does yoga, but should especially be adhered to by those with arthritis. With sensitive joints, you'll want to assume poses slowly and be aware of when it becomes uncomfortable. After a few weeks of yoga, you'll notice it becoming easier to expand how many postures you're able to use. Take one step at a time and remember that the true benefits of yoga come from an attitude of balance and peace, not strain.
About the author
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...