A pilot study conducted in the UAE reveals 12 sessions of yoga significantly improved the conditions of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. This study was presented this month before the 13th Congress of the Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology in Yokohama, Japan by a team of specialists from the United Arab Emirates.
"It is possible that yoga may have important physical and psychological benefits for patients with rheumatoid arthritis," stated Dr. Humeira Badsha, specialist rheumatologist, Dubai Bone and Joint Center (DBAJ).
A total of 47 patients were enrolled, of which 26 undertook yoga sessions, while 21 were on regular arthritis treatment. The baseline demographics were similar in both groups. The Raj yoga sessions were conducted by a licensed practitioner with a Master's qualification in Yoga. Raj yoga is defined as "concerned principally with the cultivation of the mind using meditation to further one's acquaintance with reality and finally achieve liberation."
"Our study was able to demonstrate statistically significant improvements in rheumatoid arthritis disease parameters and especially Health Assessment Questionnaire scores. Some patients in the yoga group were able to decrease or discontinue rheumatoid arthritis medications. We believe that a longer duration of treatment could result in more significant improvements," said Dr. Badsha.
The study was funded by the Emirates Arthritis Foundation which has taken a lead role in the education and well being of arthritis patients in the UAE, since its launch in 2006.