Them bones, them bones…
Self-care. Now that’s something you don’t hear often in the medical world.
Just when you thought yoga was only for nimble-bodied hula hoopers and fire twirlers, there’s news that the practice can help folks with an old pain the bones: osteporosis. The New York Times reports that yoga therapy can actually prevent osteporosis when east meets west in medical practices. Dr. Loren Fishman is just one of the pioneering doctors bringing simple yoga exercises to people dealing with conditions such as shoulder injuries, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and scoliosis, and helping many treat, prevent, reverse their state, or avoid surgery and other more serious procedures.
This year, Dr. Fishman received a prize at the International Conference on Yoga for Health and Social Transformation for a paper he presented on a surprising yoga remedy for rotator cuff syndrome, a common shoulder injury that causes extreme pain when trying to raise one’s arm to shoulder height and higher. He described a modified form of a yoga headstand that does not require standing on the head and takes only 30 seconds to perform, and presented evidence that it could relieve shoulder pain in most patients, and that adding brief physical therapy could keep the problem from recurring.
Shoulder injury, rotator cuff…sound familiar? Take note! It’s not all about the rehab. As one of our favorite and inspiring teachers says, yoga is money in the bank. Practicing simple exercises now can prepare you for the future, like a 401k where you can spend the money on a yacht and the 5000 sq ft treehouse you always wanted, instead of pills and medical bills.
More good news. Yoga also helps prevent bone loss, as well as helping rebuild bone mass.
In a pilot study that began with 187 people with osteoporosis and 30 with its precursor, osteopenia, he [Dr. Fishman] found that compliance with the yoga exercises was poor. But the 11 patients who did 10 minutes of yoga daily for two years increased bone density in their hips and spines while seven patients who served as controls continued to lose bone. He noted that yoga’s benefits also decrease the risk of falls, which can result in osteoporotic fractures.
In short, yoga is awesome, no bones about it! Or something. Keep it up, yogadorks.
Further reading: Dr. Fishman’s nonsurgical treatment of piriformis syndrome, also by Jane E. Brody.