Remain Active with
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Yoga Guide
(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
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.