Until recently, after receiving a diagnosis of arthritis, many people would avoid exercise. But doctors say that keeping fit, strong and flexible not only reduces arthritis symptoms, but could also delay or even prevent the onset of the condition.
Loren Fishman, M.D., Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York City, highly recommends yoga for the prevention and treatment of arthritis.
“Yoga has distinct advantages in arthritis,” says Dr. Fishman. ”Since it is self-administered, after a short learning period, you can go as far as is safe for you. It is joint-specific, so you can focus directly on parts that ail you.”
Fishman believes the low-impact, flexibility-enhancing exercises of the ancient practice of yoga can be a more effective treatment than drugs or surgery. “Like pebbles at the seashore, over the thousands of years of practice, mainly by people with nimble minds and clumsy bodies, yoga’s postures have been worn extremely smooth.”
“The reason yoga works, explains Fishman, is that “the cartilage in joints has no perichondrium, no blood vessels to give the cells oxygen, glucose, protein and hormones, and carry away the waste products of metabolism. Yoga’s extreme positions circulate joint fluid to the very corners of the joint, where arthritis often begins and flourishes.”
“Yoga increases range of motion, the reduction of which is the chief evil of arthritis. In addition, yoga has been shown to improve coordination and balance, and lower anxiety — three major safeguards against falling — something increasingly likely as range of motion diminishes.” Continue reading >>