Yoga as a Complementary Therapy

Marian Garfinkel, EdD


Geriatrics and Aging. 2006;9(3):190-194. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

By broadening yoga's application beyond stress-related ailments to include preventative and curative therapies, physicians today have an advantage in treating patients' illnesses and disorders. Specifically, yoga therapy complements patients' traditional medical treatment of osteoarthritis and other bone and joint disorders. Following anatomical guidelines, yoga teachers can adapt postures (asanas) to ensure patients' organs, joints, and bones are aligned to achieve physiologic changes. Recent studies performed by this author assessing the effect of yoga therapy on rheumatic diseases, such as osteoarthritis, and repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, showed that yoga therapy caused physiologic changes, relieved pain, and improved motion.

Physicians today are recognizing yoga as a complementary therapy and incorporating it in treatment of patients' diseases and disorders. This article addresses the use of yoga as a complementary management therapy for osteoarthritis (OA) and other bone and joint disorders. Recent studies of rheumatic diseases performed by this author showed that the use of yoga asanas (postures) positively affected study participants' well-being.[1,2] Additional studies illustrate that yoga could be added as a complementary therapy to the traditional management of arthritis.[3,4,5,6] To provide physicians with useful background knowledge about yoga, this article summarizes its origin and purpose and then explains how yoga can be used as a complementary therapy. By outlining the underlying principles of yoga, this article illustrates how the design and application of yoga can be rooted in the medical community.


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