Article

Iyengar Yoga for Young Adults with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Results From a Mixed-Methods Pilot Study

Pediatric Pain Program, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90024, USA.
Journal of pain and symptom management (Impact Factor: 2.74). 05/2010; 39(5):904-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.09.018
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease that often impacts patient's quality of life. For young people with RA, there is a need for rehabilitative approaches that have been shown to be safe and to lead to improved functioning.
This pilot study investigated the feasibility of a single-arm, group-administered, six-week, biweekly Iyengar yoga (IY) program for eight young adults with RA.
IY is known for its use of props, therapeutic sequences designed for patient populations, emphasis on alignment, and a rigorous teacher training. Treatment outcomes were evaluated using a mixed-methods approach that combined quantitative results from standardized questionnaires and qualitative interviews with participants.
Initial attrition was 37% (n=3) after the first week because of scheduling conflicts and a prior non-RA related injury. However, the remaining participants (n=5) completed between 75% and 100% of treatment sessions (mean=95%). No adverse events were reported. The quantitative results indicated significant improvements in pain, pain disability, depression, mental health, vitality, and self-efficacy. Interviews demonstrated improvement in RA symptoms and functioning but uncertainty about whether the intervention affected pain.
These preliminary findings indicate that IY is a feasible complementary approach for young people with RA, although larger clinical trials are needed to demonstrate safety and efficacy.

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