ABSTRACT Stress, both psychological and physiological, has been implicated as having a role in the onset and exacerbations of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
This study investigated whether neuroendocrine and physical function in women with RA can be altered through a yoga intervention.
University research conducted at a medical clinic.
Sixteen independently living, postmenopausal women with an RA classification of I, II, or III according to the American College of Rheumatology functional classification system served as either participants or controls.
The study group participated in three 75-minute yoga classes a week over a 10-week period.
At baseline and on completion of the 10-week intervention, diurnal cortisol patterns and resting heart rate were measured. Balance was measured using the Berg Balance Test. Participants completed the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HIQ), a visual analog pain scale, and the Beck Depression Inventory.
Yoga resulted in a significantly decreased HAQ disability index, decreased perception of pain and depression, and improved balance. Yoga did not result in a significant change in awakening or diurnal cortisol patterns (P = .12).