Yoga for Arthritis

Program Synopsis – Arthritis

Besides the elderly, more young Singaporeans are experiencing joint pain as well. In 2007, the Ministry of Health reported that 23.7 percent of Singaporeans between 18 to 50 suffer from chronic joint pains. This is a three-fold increment from the 7.4 percent reported in 2001.

Arthritis is a term used to describe conditions that cause inflammation and pain in the joints. It is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

There are many different types of arthritis, but the two most common ones are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis: This is the most common form of arthritis and occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time. It commonly affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and spine. Osteoarthritis is often associated with aging, joint injury, obesity, and repetitive stress on the joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and joint damage. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect multiple joints, including the hands, wrists, and feet. It can also cause systemic symptoms such as fatigue, fever, and weight loss.

Symptoms of arthritis can vary depending on the type and severity but commonly include joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion.

Arthritis can significantly impact a person's quality of life and ability to perform daily activities.

How Yoga Helps with Arthritis

Yoga has been shown to be beneficial for individuals with arthritis, offering improvements in physical function, pain management, and overall quality of life. Here are some key findings from scientific studies that provide evidence of these benefits:

1. Improvement in Physical Function and Flexibility

Evidence: Yoga can significantly improve physical function and flexibility in individuals with arthritis.

  • Study: Moonaz, S. H., Bingham, C. O., & Wissow, L. (2015). "Yoga in sedentary adults with arthritis: Effects of a randomized controlled pragmatic trial."
    • Journal: Journal of Rheumatology
    • Summary: This study found that an 8-week yoga program led to significant improvements in physical function, flexibility, and balance in sedentary adults with arthritis.

2. Reduction in Pain and Joint Stiffness

Evidence: Yoga has been shown to reduce pain and joint stiffness in individuals with arthritis.

  • Study: Haaz, S., & Bartlett, S. J. (2011). "Yoga for arthritis: A scoping review."
    • Journal: Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America
    • Summary: This review found that yoga interventions led to significant reductions in pain and joint stiffness in individuals with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

3. Enhanced Psychological Well-being

Evidence: Yoga can improve psychological well-being by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in individuals with arthritis.

  • Study: Kolasinski, S. L., Garfinkel, M., Tsai, A. G., Matz, W., Van Dyke, A., & Schumacher, H. R. (2005). "Iyengar yoga for treating symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knees: A pilot study."
    • Journal: Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
    • Summary: This pilot study found that participants with osteoarthritis of the knees who practiced Iyengar yoga experienced significant improvements in mood and reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression.

4. Improvement in Quality of Life

Evidence: Yoga can enhance the overall quality of life for individuals with arthritis by improving both physical and mental health.

  • Study: Evans, S., Moieni, M., & Lung, K. (2010). "Impact of iyengar yoga on quality of life in young women with rheumatoid arthritis."
    • Journal: Clinical Journal of Pain
    • Summary: This study demonstrated that a 6-week Iyengar yoga program significantly improved the quality of life in young women with rheumatoid arthritis.

5. Improvement in Aerobic Fitness and Muscle Strength

Evidence: Regular yoga practice can enhance aerobic fitness and muscle strength, which are important for managing arthritis symptoms.

  • Study: Cheung, C., Wyman, J. F., & Resnick, B. (2012). "Yoga for managing knee osteoarthritis in older women: A pilot randomized controlled trial."
    • Journal: Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
    • Summary: This pilot randomized controlled trial found that yoga improved aerobic fitness and muscle strength in older women with knee osteoarthritis.

6. Enhancement of Mindfulness and Stress Reduction

Evidence: Yoga promotes mindfulness and stress reduction, which can help in managing the psychological stress associated with arthritis.

  • Study: Davis, D., & Zautra, A. (2013). "An online mindfulness intervention targeting socioemotional regulation in fibromyalgia: Results of a randomized controlled trial."
    • Journal: Annals of Behavioral Medicine
    • Summary: This study found that a mindfulness-based intervention, including yoga, improved socioemotional regulation and reduced stress in individuals with fibromyalgia, a condition related to arthritis.


Scientific evidence supports the benefits of yoga for individuals with arthritis, including improvements in physical function and flexibility, reduction in pain and joint stiffness, enhanced psychological well-being, improved quality of life, increased aerobic fitness and muscle strength, and enhanced mindfulness and stress reduction. These studies collectively demonstrate that yoga is a valuable adjunct therapy for managing arthritis and improving the overall well-being of individuals with this condition.

Program Disclaimer

We view yoga as a form of preventive and relief alternative. It is neither a cure-all nor a quick-fix intervention to your health or medical concerns or conditions. Our Program is not intended as a substitute for professional health or medical advice. It is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. It is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional health or medical diagnosis and treatment. If you have any health or medical concerns or conditions that warrant special attention, please seek the advice of your health or medical professional before beginning our Program.

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