The cause of Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), one type of inflammatory arthritis is not known, however, the pain and stiffness that it causes at multiple joints can be reduced through regular practice of Yoga.
According to a new study, eight weeks of intensive yoga practice significantly decreases the severity of physical and psychological symptoms in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.
Yoga has the capacity to promote, prevent, treat, and rehabilitate disease, as evidenced by the dramatic improvements in patient assessments of functional status, disease activity, and levels of certain inflammatory biomarkers.
Measurable improvements in Rheumatoid Arthritis
“Our findings show measurable improvements for the patients in the test group, suggesting an immune-regulatory role of yoga practice in the treatment of RA. An intensive yoga regimen concurrent with routine drug therapy induced molecular remission and re-established immunological tolerance. In addition, it reduced the severity of depression by promoting neuroplasticity,” explained lead investigator, Rima Dada, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Anatomy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India.
She noted that high disease activity and underlying depression are associated with increased disability, reduced quality of life, and minimized rates of clinical remission and treatment response.
Intensive Yoga based Mind-body intervention has a positive clinical outcome
A mind-body intervention (MBI) randomised experiment was conducted in this study to examine the effects of practicing 120 minutes of yoga five days a week for eight weeks on 72 RA patients. There were parallel active and control groups. The test and control groups were both receiving customary medication treatments (DMARDs) at the same time. According to the results, the intensive yoga-based MBI had a positive clinical outcome by reducing the severity of depression, disease activity, and disability quotient in RA patients. These systemic biomarkers of neuroplasticity, inflammation, immune-modulation, and aging also significantly improved.
Yoga practice affects systemic biomarkers of inflammation, cellular aging and oxidative stress
In terms of clinical symptoms, quality of life, psychosocial effects, and functional abilities, existing research has investigated the role of yoga as an effective intervention to support the management of RA. This study is among the first to examine how yoga practise impacts the cellular ageing, oxidative stress, and systemic indicators of inflammation, particularly in RA. “Our results provide evidence that yoga positively modifies the pathobiology of autoimmunity at cellular and molecular levels by targeting mind-body communications. Further research is needed for the exploration of possible mechanisms underlying the cumulative effect of yoga on multiple pathways at a cellular level,” added Dr. Dada. “Yoga facilitates the mind’s capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms mediated though a variety of downstream pathways and bring about natural immunological tolerance.”
Yoga helps in improvement of psychological health among RA patients
As a result of the interaction of hereditary and environmental variables, RA is a diverse autoimmune disease that produces widespread systemic inflammation, cartilage degradation, and synovial hyperplasia, all of which contribute to physical impairment and psychological comorbidity.
Patients, their caretakers, healthcare institutions, and society are all significantly burdened by the co-existence of depression and RA in individuals. Existing medical treatments are ineffective in treating the psychological aspect of the condition, have many adverse effects, and have a limited reach. Depression appears to reduce patients’ compliance and adherence to medical care, which leads to worse health outcomes and a deterioration in the severity of the condition. The yoga group was more obedient and able to complete more everyday tasks without much trouble as their psychological health and severity levels improved.
Yoga, as an alternative treatment, can help alleviate symptoms of physical and psychosomatic level
Dr. Dada concluded, “This study offers a new option. Pharmacological treatments can be supplemented with alternative and complementary interventions like yoga to alleviate the symptoms at both physical and psychosomatic levels.” Reaching a state of remission is becoming a more realistic treatment objective since yoga-based MBI offers a holistic treatment dimension. This method may be used broadly because most ailments include a psychosomatic component.
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Surabhi Gautam, Madhuri Tolahunase, Uma Kumar, Rima Dada. Impact of yoga based mind-body intervention on systemic inflammatory markers and co-morbid depression in active Rheumatoid arthritis patients: A randomized controlled trial. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, 2019; DOI: 10.3233/RNN-180875
IOS Press. “Yoga regimen reduces severity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190205115301.htm>.
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