Feeling flexible? Benefits of yoga may go bone-deep

NEW YORK, Dec 22 — Yoga enthusiasts link the practice to a long list of health benefits, including greater flexibility and range of motion, stronger muscles, better posture and balance, reduced emotional and physical stress, and increased self-awareness and self-esteem.

But definitively proving these benefits is challenging, requiring years of costly research. A pharmaceutical company is unlikely to fund a study that doesn’t involve a drug, and in any event, the research requires a large group of volunteers tracked over a very long time.

The subjects must provide health measurements at the outset, learn the proper poses, continue to do them regularly for years and be regularly evaluated.

No one knows these challenges better than Dr Loren M. Fishman, a physiatrist at Columbia University who specialises in rehabilitative medicine. For years, he has been gathering evidence on yoga and bone health, hoping to determine whether yoga might be an effective therapy for osteoporosis.

The idea is not widely accepted in the medical community, but then, researchers know comparatively little about complementary medicine in general. So in 2005, Fishman began a small pilot study of yoga moves that turned up some encouraging results. Eleven practitioners had increased bone density in their spine and hips, he reported in 2009, compared with seven controls who did not practice yoga.

Knowing that more than 700,000 spinal fractures and more than 300,000 hip fractures occur annually in the United States, Fishman hoped that similar findings from a much larger study might convince doctors that this low-cost and less dangerous alternative to bone-loss drugs is worth pursuing.

Those medications can produce adverse side effects like gastrointestinal distress and fractures of the femur. Indeed, a recent study published in Clinical Interventions in Ageing found that among 126,188 women found to have osteoporosis, all of whom had Medicare Part D drug coverage, only 28 per cent started bone drug therapy within a year of diagnosis.

Many of those who avoided drugs were trying to avoid gastrointestinal problems.

On the other hand, yoga’s “side effects”, Fishman and colleagues wrote recently, “include better posture, improved balance, enhanced coordination, greater range of motion, higher strength, reduced levels of anxiety and better gait”.

Weight-bearing activity is often recommended to patients with bone loss, and Fishman argues that certain yoga positions fit the bill.

“Yoga puts more pressure on bone than gravity does,” he said in an interview. “By opposing one group of muscles against another, it stimulates osteocytes, the bone-making cells.”

Most experts argue that it’s difficult, perhaps impossible, for adults to gain significant bone mass. Undeterred, Fishman invested his own money and with three collaborators — Yi-Hsueh Lu of The Rockefeller University, Bernard Rosner of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Dr Gregory Chang of New York University — solicited volunteers worldwide via the Internet for a follow-up to his small pilot study.

Of the 741 people who joined his experiment from 2005 to 2015, 227 (202 of them women) followed through with doing the 12 assigned yoga poses daily or at least every other day. The average age of the 227 participants upon joining the study was 68, and 83 per cent had osteoporosis or its precursor, osteopenia.

The 12 poses, by their English names, were tree, triangle, warrior II, side-angle, twisted triangle, locust, bridge, supine hand-to-foot I, supine hand-to-foot II, straight-legged twist, bent-knee twist and corpse pose. Each pose was held for 30 seconds. The daily regimen, once learned, took 12 minutes to complete.

The researchers collected data at the start of the study on the participants’ bone density measurements, blood and urine chemistry and X-rays of their spines and hips. They were each given a DVD of the 12 yoga poses used in the pilot study and an online programme in which to record what they did and how often.

A decade after the start of the study, bone density measurements were again taken and emailed to the researchers; many participants also had repeat X-rays done. The findings, as reported last month in Topics of Geriatric Rehabilitation, showed improved bone density in the spine and femur of the 227 participants who were moderately or fully compliant with the assigned yoga exercises.

Improvements were seen in bone density in the hip as well, but they were not statistically significant.

Before the study, the participants had had 109 fractures, either reported by them or found on X-rays.

At the time the study was submitted for publication, “with more than 90,000 hours of yoga practiced largely by people with osteoporosis or osteopenia, there have been no reported or X-ray detected fractures or serious injuries of any kind related to the practice of yoga in any of the 741 participants,” Fishman and his colleagues wrote.

“Yoga looks like it’s safe, even for people who have suffered significant bone loss,” Fishman said in an interview.

Furthermore, a special study of bone quality done on 18 of the participants showed that they had “better internal support of their bones, which is not measured by a bone density scan but is important to resisting fractures,” Fishman said.

The study has many limitations, including the use of self-selected volunteers and the lack of a control group. But all told, the team concluded, the results may lend support to Fishman’s long-held belief that yoga can help reverse bone loss.

Even if bone density did not increase, improvements in posture and balance that can accrue from the practice of yoga can be protective, Fishman said.

“Spinal fractures can result from poor posture, and there’s no medication for that, but yoga is helpful,” he said.

In addition, “yoga is good for range of motion, strength, coordination and reduced anxiety,” he said, “all of which contribute to the ability to stay upright and not fall. If you don’t fall, you greatly reduce your risk of a serious fracture.” — The New York Times

38 thoughts on “Feeling flexible? Benefits of yoga may go bone-deep

  • October 15, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Hey there I wanted to say hi. The words in your content seem to be running off the screen in Opera. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the issue solved soon. Many thanks!!

  • October 16, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Hi there, you are certainly right. I frequently read your site content closely. I’m also considering omega xl now, perhaps you could write about that from time to time. Have a good day.

  • October 24, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Following study a number of of the blog posts in your site now, and I really like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site list and is going to be checking back soon. Pls check out my website at the same time and let me know what you believe.

  • October 30, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Great paintings! That is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared across the web. Shame on Google for not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and discuss with my website . Thanks =)

  • November 2, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I personally arrived over here via another web address related to mobile number locator and considered I should check this out. I quite like the things I see so now I”m following you. Looking forward to going over the blog again.

  • November 2, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Admiring the hard work you invested in the blog and in depth facts you provide. It is wonderful to come across a site occasionally which isn’t the similar old rehashed stuff. Wonderful read! I have saved your blog and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my own router home address site.

  • November 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    You are entirely correct. I really liked reading through this info and I will certainly come back for more right away. My website is on the subject of running earphones, you might check it out if you happen to be still interested in that.

  • November 3, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Hey! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Great blog and terrific design.

  • November 6, 2017 at 8:30 am

    You’re so cool! I don’t believe I’ve read a single thing like that before.
    So good to find somebody with a few genuine thoughts on this
    subject matter. Really.. many thanks for starting this up.

    This web site is something that’s needed on the web, someone with a
    little originality!

  • November 7, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    I value the article.Thanks Again. Awesome.

  • November 11, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    wow)) cheap viagra in usa

    [url=http://viagragenericvas.com/]buy generic viagra[/url]

    online viagra

    online reviews viagra

  • November 11, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Hello there, what do you really feel regarding upvc window manufacturers? Really interesting issue, huh?

  • November 15, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Thanks to my father who informed me regarding this web site, this
    weblog is genuinely awesome.

  • November 15, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Wonderful article! We will be linking to this particularly great content
    on our website. Keep up the great writing.

  • November 15, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    I visited many web pages except the audio feature for
    audio songs present at this site is genuinely fabulous.

  • November 15, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Hi there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this site.

  • November 15, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article.

    Thanks for providing this information.

  • November 15, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone
    during lunch break. I really like the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m surprised at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile ..

    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic site!

  • November 16, 2017 at 11:44 am

    This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses

  • November 16, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I’m hoping the same high-grade site post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings fast. Your write up is a great example of it.

  • November 16, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    certainly like your web site however you need to take a look at the spelling on quite
    a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I find
    it very bothersome to tell the reality then again I’ll definitely come again again.

  • November 16, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I’m not sure why but this website is loading incredibly slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end?

    I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  • November 17, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Howdy can you let me know which blog platform you are using? I’m planning to get started with my own website on Arvind Pandit soon although I’m having a hard time choosing.

  • November 18, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks a lot for writing the idea, I saved the page. I’m also struggling to find tips around vshare ios download, have you any idea the place where I can come across one thing such as that? I’ll come back soon!

  • November 18, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    I enjoy what you people are up to. This sort of cool work and reporting! Carry on the awesome effort guys, I’ve included you to my 9apps apk latest version download web page.

  • November 20, 2017 at 6:04 am

    Most of whatever you say is astonishingly accurate and that makes me wonder the reason why I hadn’t looked at this in this light before. This piece really did switch the light on for me personally as far as this topic goes. However there is actually one particular position I am not too comfortable with so while I try to reconcile that with the core theme of your point, allow me observe just what all the rest of your readers have to point out.Nicely done.
    [url=http://noreferer.win/]Anonymous links[/url]

  • November 20, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Evening family devotions had been one of the impoortant
    components of Lee and ᒪarry?s day. Daddy read part of the stօry of Jesus сoming
    att Chrіstmas whіch is the place he learn yearly tһroughout
    December so thеy might know the actual reason for Christmas, to have а good
    time the beginning of Jesuѕ. On the end of it, Leee requested, ?Daddy, did Jesus get a
    birthday party every year with presents and a cloqn too?

  • November 22, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    I’m truly enjoying the design of your website. Do you encounter any kind of web browser compatibility situations? A number of my website visitors have complained regarding my lucky patcher for iphone blog not operating appropriately in Internet Explorer yet seems wonderful in Firefox. Have you got any solutions to aid repair this issue?

  • November 24, 2017 at 10:59 am

    cialis rezept gunstig

    [url=http://cialisorderas.com/]order cialis[/url]

    order cialis

    cialis cheapest prices indian

  • November 24, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. Thanks a lot

  • November 24, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Gastrointestinal [URL=http://aspieinthefamily.com/cialis-pills/#cialis-5mg-oho]cialis 5mg[/URL] arachis ignition cialis buy online issuing principles adequately [URL=http://embunpagischool.com/propecia-for-sale/#propecia-without-prescription-8m5]propecia and minoxodil[/URL] regardless online propecia effects: habitation inguino-scrotal propecia for sale positive [URL=http://ibuildpixels.net/canadian-pharmacy-price/#canadian-pharmacy-price-o9k]generic cialis canada pharmacy[/URL] item resign thenar bilirubin whosoever [URL=http://aspieinthefamily.com/buy-viagra-online/#viagra-4k4]viagra pills 100 mg[/URL] holidays, circuitously, psychological: arise originate [URL=http://leepuniversity.com/cialis-cheap/#cialis-online-1s6]cialis[/URL] fall reassured septum, host spores cialis 20mg for sale hour.

  • November 25, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I really adore your blog and find a lot of your content to be just what I’m seeking. Would you offer guest writers to post material for you? I would not mind publishing an article on real followers or on many of the things you’re writing about on this page. Again, awesome blog!

  • November 26, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    You can even replace your favorite MP3 music with
    these to ensure even if you are in regards to the gym, it
    is possible to still understand interesting points in the book or listen on the docs from perform which you have to examine.
    ” It was President Theodore Roosevelt who had given it the White House in 1901. Instead of enjoying karaoke parties, you are able to always go ahead and take music and build your own song, by plugging it in your TV sets.

  • November 26, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Our LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) HGV training is based in East London, and our LGV/ HGV courses are taught by qualified DVSA LGV & HGV trainers. LGV was formerly known as HGV, where it used to be referred to as HGV Class 2 (now called LGV Category C) and HGV class 1 (Now called LGV Category C+E).

  • November 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    The art of ghazal singing has were able to entice millions across the globe.
    These guides let you practice when you are ready and possess
    the time for it to do so. You need a special connector typically referred
    to as a Fire wire or known being an IEEE 1394 high band connector.

Comments are closed.