The benefits of yoga for rheumatoid arthritis: results of a preliminary, structured 8-week program


The aim of this study was to measure the effects of a bi-weekly Raj yoga program on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity. Subjects were recruited from among RA patients in Dubai, United Arab Emirates by email invitations of the RA database. Demographic data, disease activity indices, health assessment questionnaire (HAQ), and quality of life (QOL) by SF-36 were documented at enrollment and after completion of 12 sessions of Raj yoga. A total of 47 patients were enrolled: 26 yoga and 21 controls. Baseline demographics were similar in both groups. Patients who underwent yoga had statistically significant improvements in DAS28 and HAQ, but not QOL. Our pilot study of 12 sessions of yoga for RA was able to demonstrate statistically significant improvements in RA disease parameters. We believe that a longer duration of treatment could result in more significant improvements.

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This study was funded by the Emirates Arthritis Foundation and by an unrestricted grant from Abbott Pharmaceuticals. We would like to acknowledge Ms. Gemma Tapado for support in data entry and logistics and Freiburg Medical laboratory, Dubai, United Arab Emirates for ESR testing.

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Correspondence to Humeira Badsha.

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Badsha, H., Chhabra, V., Leibman, C. et al. The benefits of yoga for rheumatoid arthritis: results of a preliminary, structured 8-week program. Rheumatol Int 29, 1417–1421 (2009).

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  • Arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Yoga
  • Exercise