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85-year-old woman eliminates her hunchback through yoga therapy


(NaturalNews) Like many women her age, 85-year-old New Yorker Anna Pesce suffered from back pain. Hers was particularly severe, sometimes even preventing her from climbing up stairs. She recalls having to spend a trip to visit her children in South Carolina confined to a wheelchair because getting around was simply too difficult.

An unlucky combination of scoliosis, a herniated disc and osteoporosis meant she had been dealing with a hunchback-like posture for the past few decades. She tried a number of remedies, including physical therapy, acupuncture and chiropractor visits. Some of these treatments helped her feel good temporarily, but she says the pain would always return eventually.

After the situation reached a low point on her visit to South Carolina, she decided to try yoga. She enlisted the help of a certified yoga instructor who also specializes in back care, Rachel Jesien, whom she met through her granddaughter, who is also a yoga instructor.

Like Pesce, Jesien also suffers from scoliosis, which is a curvature of the spine. During their weekly sessions Jesien showed her how to perform stretches and restorative poses, such as chair savasana and child's pose. After just a month of sessions she regained her ability to walk.

Yoga brought surprisingly quick results

Jesien feels that the real milestone for Pesce came when after just two months she instinctively knew which poses to do for the various types of pain that might pop up. For example, she knew an ankle-to-knee pose would be a great way to deal with her hip pain.

After just four months, she shocked everyone by being able to perform a modified headstand, which she does with her back placed against the wall.

Pesce is thrilled that she decided to take the plunge and give yoga a try. She says she's now able to do a lot of activities that were impossible before, including driving. Her daughter reports that she seems much happier now, and has regained much of her independence.

Yoga breathing exercises have many benefits

Two years later, she still practices yoga poses every day, including a supported downward dog pose aided by a sling and pranayama. Pranayama is a type of yoga breathing exercise that helps people make use of the full capacity of their lungs while breathing. It has been shown to be helpful in easing muscle tension and in relieving stress, and it can also lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Learning how to breathe clean air deeply and use the full capacity of the lungs can be incredibly calming.

The connection between yoga and flexibility is fairly well-known, but many people are surprised to learn that it can also help eliminate harmful toxins from the body, control cravings for unhealthy food, burn fat and lower cholesterol.

Jesien praised yoga for its ability to strengthen muscles, boost bone density and relieve back pain associated with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. She should know; she wore a back brace and had to go to physical therapy once a week for five years before a massage therapist recommended back care yoga to her.

Mount Sinai Hospital's director of integrative pain management, Dr. Houman Danesh, is also a believer. He says: "Doing weight-bearing exercises like squats and lunges can definitely increase bone density. Yoga poses can be easily extrapolated to have the same effect. Physical therapists have been incorporating yoga stretches into their sessions as well."

By being open to alternative methods of treatment Pesce was able to find a solution that truly worked for her problem, gaining a new lease on life in the process.

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