Patients with a common condition that causes pain throughout the body could ease their symptoms by practising yoga, a study has found.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder causing widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue that is thought to affect nearly two million adults in the UK. Patients struggle with aching muscles and drug therapies are only around 30 per cent effective in relieving symptoms.
A team from Oregon Health & Science University studied whether patients taking a 'Yoga Awareness' programme alongside their standard treatment showed more improvement compared to a control group of sufferers.
Study leader Dr James Carson, said: 'Although yoga has been practiced for millennia, only recently have researchers begun to demonstrate yoga's effects on people suffering from persistent pain.'
The researchers conducted an all-woman study because 80 per cent of FM patients are women. While 25 participated in the Yoga of Awareness program, 28 received standard care. The yoga was tailored to address pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and emotional distress in FM. Each class included gentle stretching poses, mindfulness meditation and breathing techniques. Both groups were then assessed for fibromyalgia symptoms alongside physical tests.
Following treatment, women assigned to the yoga programme showed far greater improvements in their symptoms and general mood.