Yoga as an Adjunct Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Yoga has demonstrated efficacy as an adjunct therapy in reducing inflammation and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune condition where the immune system targets the body’s own tissues. This study, conducted by AIIMS researchers and published in the National Library of Medicine, established the significant benefits of yoga for RA patients.

The study enrolled 64 RA patients aged 25-55 years. Participants were randomized into two groups: a yoga group (n=32) and a non-yoga control group (n=32). Disease severity was assessed at baseline and after an 8-week intervention period.

Significant improvements were observed in RA patients who practiced yoga. These improvements included a reduction in disease activity score, which reflects the severity of swelling, pain, and deformity. Furthermore, yoga was found to enhance immune balance by increasing Treg cells (suppressing immune response) and reducing Th17 cells.

This study provides scientific evidence for the incorporation of yoga into RA treatment regimens. Yoga’s ability to reduce inflammation, modulate the immune system, and normalize inflammatory markers makes it a valuable adjunct therapy for RA patients, complementing medical treatment and improving quality of life.


* Dr. Uma Kumar, Rheumatology Department, AIIMS
* Dr. Rima Dada, Department of Anatomy, Molecular Reproduction and Genetics Facility, AIIMS

Key Findings

  • Yoga significantly reduces inflammation, pain, and disease severity in RA patients.
  • Yoga promotes immune balance by increasing Treg cells and reducing Th17 cells.
  • Yoga modifies gene expression patterns and epigenetic alterations associated with RA.
  • Yoga complements medical treatment and improves the daily functioning and quality of life of RA patients.

The findings of this study suggest that yoga may be beneficial as an adjunct therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is important to note that yoga should not replace prescribed medical treatment.

Credit and rights belong to OMG I Yoga.

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