more positives from the new york times…

Here’s my 2 cents: for those in chronic pain, stuck between a rock and a hard place, if yoga might reduce the need to take painkillers it’s definitely worth the try. Of course, I’m biased. The 10 studies mentioned below, however, presumably are not. Read on. ~ Ariele

Really? The Claim: Yoga Can Help Manage Pain

Christoph Niemann


For many people, yoga is more than just exercise: Studies show it is one of the most commonly used forms of alternative therapy in the country. Many rely on yoga to relieve chronic and acute pain.

The reasons for this are varied. Some researchers believe that yoga may alleviate pain through relaxation and the release of endorphins. Others say it may reduce inflammation and promote positive emotions.

Plenty of studies have tried to determine whether taking up yoga can actually help lessen pain. In a recent report, a team of researchers sifted through the science and identified 10 randomized clinical trials on the subject involving hundreds of patients.

The studies looked at yoga’s effect on pain stemming from ailments like arthritis, low back problems, pregnancy symptoms and migraines. The control conditions were standard treatments and exercise, diet and lifestyle changes.

Nine out of the 10 clinical trials found yoga could help provide relief from pain, which the authors called “encouraging.” But they also noted that no definitive conclusion could be reached, for a number of reasons.

The studies involved patients experiencing pain from a wide variety of conditions, and they looked at several types of yoga that had some similarities, like breathing, stretching and relaxation exercises — but also many differences. Complicating matters was that the intensity, amount of time and frequency of the yoga sessions differed from one study to the next.

While the evidence suggests that yoga has the potential to alleviate pain, they wrote, the science is not firm enough to say for certain.


A review of the research on yoga suggests that it may have some usefulness in relieving pain, but more research is needed.

Let’s stay in touch! Subscribe to my (once or twice monthly) newsletter for links to fresh blog posts like this one – covering the best of yoga, optimal health, yoga anatomy, physical therapy and the occasional recipe – PLUS amazing upcoming events, like my retreats and yoga anatomy trainings.

Sign up below to join the tribe! (We never spam, and you can always unsubscribe).