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Yoga Relieves Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Update Date: Sep 05, 2014 09:01 AM EDT

Yoga not only improves physical and mental well-being in patients with multiple sclerosis but also enhances the overall quality of their life, according to a new study. 

Multiple sclerosis is an auto immune disease that affects the brain and central nervous system.

Susan Gould Fogerite, director of research for the Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the School of Health Related Professions, said in a press release that although there is widespread evidence that yoga is being used as a form of exercise by those with MS, much of the feedback has been anecdotal and there isn't much empirical data regarding its safety and efficacy.

Researchers conducted a small pilot study for a small group of MS patients. After the eight week trial, researchers observed that patients who participated were better able to walk for short distances and longer periods of time. Those patients also had better balance while reaching backwards along with fine motor coordination. 

 "Yoga is not just exercise, it is a whole system of living," said Fogerite, an associate professor, in the press release."The panel of experts who advised us on the trial wanted to make sure that we provided a fully integrated program that included philosophy, breathing practices, postures, relaxation and meditation."

Researchers will present the results on September 26 at the Symposium on Yoga Research at the Kripalu Institute in Massachusetts. 

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