PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Yoga that includes gentle stretching exercises combined with meditation can lessen the symptoms of fibromyalgia, a U.S. study found.
Twenty-five women diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome, took part in a 2-hour weekly yoga class for eight weeks.
At the end of the study, the group reported improvements in both physical and psychological aspects of fibromyalgia, including decreased pain, fatigue, tenderness, anxiety and better sleep and mood, HealthDay reported Thursday.
"The women were somewhat apprehensive when we started, but once they got into the rhythm of it they found it to be very helpful," said lead study author James Carson, a clinical psychologist and pain specialist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by multiple tender points, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and memory and concentration problems.
The debilitating condition affects some 11 million to 15 million Americans, about 80 percent to 90 percent of them women.
The yoga sessions in the study included 40 minutes of gentle stretching and poses, 25 minutes of meditation, 10 minutes of breathing techniques, a 20-minute lesson on applying yoga principles to daily life and coping with fibromyalgia, HealthDay reported.