facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Hatha yoga reduces fibromyalgia symptoms

July 27, 2011 at 8:45 PM   |   Comments

TORONTO, July 27 (UPI) -- Practicing yoga reduces the physical and psychological symptoms of pain from fibromyalgia, researchers in Canada say.

Fibromyalgia, a condition that affects 11 million to 15 million Americans -- predominantly women -- is characterized by chronic pain and fatigue. Common symptoms include muscle stiffness, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal discomfort, anxiety and depression.

Previous research has found women with fibromyalgia have lower-than-average cortisol levels, which contributes to pain, fatigue and stress sensitivity.

Lead author Kathryn Curtis, a doctoral student at York University, Professor Joel Katz and colleagues found the study participants' saliva revealed elevated levels of total cortisol following a program of 75 minutes of hatha yoga twice weekly over the course of eight weeks.

"Ideally, our cortisol levels peak about 30-40 minutes after we get up in the morning and decline throughout the day until we're ready to go to sleep," Curtis says in a statement. "The secretion of the hormone cortisol is dysregulated in women with fibromyalgia."

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced and released by the adrenal gland and functions as a component of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in response to stress.

"Hatha yoga promotes physical relaxation by decreasing activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which lowers heart rate and increases breath volume," Curtis says in a statement. "We believe this in turn has a positive effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis."

The study's results, published in the Journal of Pain Research, mirrored the findings of researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, who reported last November that women who took part in a yoga regimen noticed improvements in both physical and psychological aspects of fibromyalgia, including decreased pain, fatigue, tenderness, anxiety, and better sleep and mood.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Most Popular
1
New research explains insomnia prevalence among elderly
2
New data shows Melbourne is most well-rested city in the world
3
New research details rare cancer that killed Bob Marley
4
Daughters more likely than sons to care for elder parents
5
Yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies at 95
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback