THURSDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Yoga that includes gentle stretches and meditation may help alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, a small study finds.
Twenty-five women diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome, were enrolled in a two-hour yoga class that met once a week for eight weeks. Another group of 28 women diagnosed with the condition were put on a waiting list and told to continue their normal routine for dealing with fibromyalgia.
After eight weeks, the yoga group reported improvements in both physical and psychological aspects of fibromyalgia, including decreased pain, fatigue, tenderness, anxiety and better sleep and mood.
"The women were somewhat apprehensive when we started, but once they got into the rhythm of it they found it to be very helpful," said lead study author James Carson, a clinical psychologist and pain specialist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. "They came back after the first week reporting less pain, better sleep and feeling encouraged for the first time in years. That type of change continued to build over the course of the program."
At the end of the study, about 4.5 percent in the yoga group reported being "very much better," 9.1 percent said they were "much better," 77 percent were "a little better" while 4.5 percent reported no change. In comparison, no one in the the control group reported that they were "very much better" or "much better," 19.2 percent reported being "a little better," and 38.5 percent reported "no change."
Average pain scores dropped from a 5 to a 4 on a 10-point scale, although there was no improvement in the overall "tender point" score.
The study was limited by its small sample, absence of follow-up and over-reliance on self-reported data, the researchers noted.
The study, published online Oct. 14, is in the November print issue of the journal <
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