For all yoga practitioners or instructors who are interested in the latest research documenting the effectiveness of yoga, a newly released video produced by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be of great interest.
The video entitled The Science of Yoga, features the latest research on how yoga works, the safety of yoga and whether yoga can help treat certain health problems. It is one of the first studies conducted examining the safety and effectiveness of yoga for seniors.
“This video provides important information on the safety and usefulness of yoga and also insights into how scientists study this commonly used health practice,” said Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., director of NCCAM. “What we’re seeing from our researchers—through the application of rigorous scientific methods—is evidence suggesting that yoga may help people manage certain symptoms while it may not help with others. We’re also learning more about the safety of yoga, particularly when it is used in populations who are at increased risk for injury.”
The video highlights the work of two respected researchers; George Salem, Ph.D., at the University of Southern California and Karen Sherman, Ph.D., M.P.H, at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle. Dr. Salem uses innovative technology to examine how older adults use their muscles and joints in certain yoga postures, while Dr. Sherman focuses on how yoga may be a beneficial complementary health practice for people with chronic low-back pain.
The ten minute video provides a set of consumer tips, helping viewers make sound decisions if they are interested in practicing yoga. For example:
• Yoga is generally considered to be safe in healthy people when practiced appropriately under the guidance of a well-trained instructor. However, people with high blood pressure, glaucoma, or sciatica, and women who are pregnant should modify or avoid some yoga poses.
• Everyone’s body is different, and yoga postures should be modified based on individual abilities. Inform your instructor about any medical issues you have, and ask about the physical demands of yoga.
• If you’re thinking about practicing yoga, be sure to talk to your health care providers. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health.
In addition to the NNCAM research, a growing number of medical research facilities are examining the therapeutic benefits of yoga. Both the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society, due to a growing body of evidence-based research now include a number of mind and body approaches, including yoga in their clinical practice guidelines for managing chronic low-back pain.
Visit the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), at of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for more information or watch “The Science of Yoga” video here: http://nccam.nih.gov/video/yoga-science.