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Yoga Offers Mental, Physical Relief for the Chronically Ill

Patients dealing with illnesses ranging from AIDS and cancer to osteoporosis and Crohn's disease are turning to condition-specific yoga classes, according to a report in the New York Times, my favorite newspaper in the world. Unlike larger health club classes, however, only certain poses are incorporated, and at the appropriate pace and level.

I'm happy medical experts are increasingly recognizing the benefits of alternative medicine in treating and preventing a range of illnesses. I agree the health benefits of stretching can be particularly valuable.

More and more, doctors recommend the classes for the stress-relieving benefits. However, patients are reporting the sessions make them more comfortable and even help alleviate the symptoms and side effects of medication. Additionally, the support of exercising with others dealing with the same condition can have important mental health benefits too.

Recent studies indicate, among other things, yoga can lower fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis and reduce anxiety in cancer, heart disease and hypertension patients. Experts agree, yoga does not treat or cure the disease, but it does make the symptoms more tolerable and lessens the anxiety illness creates.

New York Times December 15, 2005 Registration Required

Kaiser Network December 15, 2005

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