Your chiropractic physicians at The Medical Group of South Florida are not only expert at treating pain, we also focus on practices and approaches that help your body remain healthy. Thus, we share similarities with various forms of complementary medicine, including the practice of yoga, a discipline that originated over 3,000 years ago.
September is National Yoga Awareness Month, so this is a good time to discuss the benefits of yoga not only in creating strength and flexibility, but in helping you relieve the chronic pains associated with arthritis, back and joint pain, headaches, and other modern ills.
In the past, chiropractors tended to look on yoga somewhat negatively because we were so often called upon to treat injuries incurred during the practice. Over time, however, our specialty has come to recognize the synergy between the two disciplines, and focus on the similarities, primarily the shared goal of enhancing the body’s natural tendency toward health and self-healing. In addition, we employ non-invasive manual therapies to accomplish many of the same goals as yoga.
Chiropractic treatment is used to improve proper functioning of the spine; yoga takes the resulting benefits of chiropractic and enlarges upon them to extend those benefits throughout the body.
One the province of hippies and gurus, yoga has come to be recognized as a beneficial practice that is even taught in schools and prisons. The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) recommends yoga for its physical as well as its mental benefits, including: increased flexibility; increased muscle strength and tone; improved respiration, energy and vitality; weight reduction; cardio and circulatory heath; improved athletic performance; protection from injury; and, stress management, including mental clarity and calmness.
Yoga is a mind and body practice that originated in India as a prelude to meditation. It was developed to assist concentration and focus in an effort to deepen meditative states. Nowadays in the West, the focus is more on the physical, combining various postures with breathing exercises. According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), recent studies have shown that yoga many help those with chronic low back pain reduce their pain and improve functionality. Others studies suggest that regular yoga practice may reduce heart rate and blood pressure, as well as relieving anxiety and depression.
Although the NIH says yoga is generally low-impact and safe for healthy people when practiced under the guidance of a well-trained instructor, it has issued some cautions for those who are pregnant, have high blood pressure, glaucoma, or sciatica, suggesting these people should modify or avoid some yoga poses, especially inverted poses like the headstand and shoulder stand. Carefully selecting a certified yoga instructor who possesses at least 200 hours of training is key to avoiding injury.
There are many types of yoga, from hatha to power to Iyengar and more, each concentrating on different postures to achieve certain goals. If you decide to pursue this ancient form of exercise, your chiropractic physicians at MGSFL can help you decide which type is right for you.