Arthritis:Study in Spanish Harlem

Yoga for Seniors with Arthritis: A Pilot Study

Abstract: To examine whether Yoga classes can relieve arthritis symptoms in older adults, Yoga classes were offered once a week for six weeks to 23 older adults (mean age 71; 19 of the 23 were diagnosed with arthritis) in four different senior institutions in East Harlem, New York. Most participants were of Puerto Rican or Spanish-speaking origins, and all had low incomes and little knowledge of or prior exposure to Yoga. Self-reported levels of pain, stiffness and sleeplessness were collected at the beginning and end of the six-week Yoga program. Statistical analyses revealed significant improvements in pain and stiffness, with large effect sizes. The classes had no significant effect on sleeplessness. Twenty-two of the 23 participants also reported home practice of breathing and poses. The results of this pilot study provide promising evidence that group Yoga classes can reduce pain and stiffness among seniors with arthritis. The study also demonstrates the feasibility of this type of intervention: a group format delivered to seniors where they already live or seek resources and that accommodates a diverse range of abilities and health conditions.

Author: Elizabeth de G.R. Hansen, PhD

International Journal of Yoga Therapy
Issue Volume 1, Number 1 / 2010 pages 55-60

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