Yoga can gently stretch the tight muscles of fibromyalgia, helping the healing process (though you have to be careful not to overdo it, stretching-wise). A new study shows that it really works.
Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland studied 53 women with fibromyalgia. Twenty-five of the women participated in a "Yoga of Awareness" program once a week (including gentle stretching, mindfulness meditation, breathing techniques, and applying yoga principles to optimal coping); 28 women didn’t. After three months, the women in the yoga program had less pain, less fatigue, and better moods. They also had more effective coping strategies, with less "catastrophizing, self-isolation, and disengagement."
"The findings of this pilot study provide promising preliminary support for the beneficial effects of yoga in patients with FM," said the lead author of the study, James W. Carson, PhD.
"A pilot randomized controlled trial of the Yoga of Awareness program in the management of fibromyalgia."Carson JW, Carson KM, Jones KD, Bennett RM, Wright CL, Mist SD. Pain. 2010 Nov;151(2):530-9. (Abstract at PubMed)