Yin Yoga and Spina bifida

There are often many questions about Yin Yoga and specific spinal conditions. Feel free to ask your question here, or check out other posts or contribute input from your own experience.
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Whitneyclairer
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Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:39 am
Location: Houston
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Yin Yoga and Spina bifida

Post by Whitneyclairer »

Bernie,
My student has an 11 year old son who has a very, very slight case of spina bifida. He does not suffer from paralysis, and you would never know unless informed. Her doctor said that it might get worse over the next few growing/puberty years. I mentioned how yin yoga stimulates the bones to help with bone degeneration, and she wanted to know if it would help her son grow vertebra bone.
I told her that might be a little different than keeping bone density levels, but I thought I would see what you thought. ???
I welcome all ages to class, but do you think that the practice will hurt her son with his condition? Also, is yin yoga appropriate for young practitioners?
Thank you for all your time and energy!!
Whitney Riley
Bernie
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Yoga and Spina Bifida

Post by Bernie »

I am dubious that yoga, even Yin Yoga, can develop the bones enough to close the gaps that cause Spina Bifida. As you say, yoga will increase bone density, but a drastic remodelling of the shape of the bone is a different proposition.

Bones can change shape over time, but it requires a lot of time and a lot of stress. Think of braces for teeth. It can take years to change the shape of the jaw, an even then, many people need to continue to wear retainers forever, because the jaw wants to revert back to its original shape. I doubt the boy would want to wear a spinal brace for years (even if this was feasible.)

Local remodelling of bone can occur at attachment sites of tendons. For example, the lesser trochanter on some people have a pronounced bump, due to constant stress of the iliopsoas (often found on marathoner who do a lot of thigh flexion.) The challenge with Spina Bifida is to localize the stress to the few vertebra that have too large of a gap between them, thus allowing the spinal chord outer layers to leak outward. Yin Yoga will not apply a direct stress on those disks as long as braces will. Nor would we be able to stress the muscular attachments/tendons enough to remodel the vertebra.

In short: I doubt that yoga can create the changes you are thinking of. It would be interesting to hear from others who have this condition, to hear of their experience. However, yoga can definitely help to deal with consequences of Spina Bifida. Check out this article on Yoga Journal, for some examples.

http://www.yogajournal.com/for_teachers/591

Often, in cases of SB, it is very helpful to strengthen the back muscles around the affected area to improve posture and take stress off the joints. Yang Yoga can definitely minimize the effects of SB, but as always, the student needs to work with his doctor or therapist to make sure that yoga won't make things worse.

Finally, puberty is a time of significant bone development and his condition may change considerably during the next few years. It may be best to wait for the bones to "settle down" and see what his situation is like in a few years, to then determine any future yoga program.

Sorry I couldn't be any more helpful.

Cheers
Bernie

Ps - While not dealing with SB directly, there is an inspiring yoga teacher, Matthew Sanford who has used yoga to help with spinal injuries, including his own. He has a book, Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence and a web site that you may find educational. http://www.matthewsanford.com/
Whitneyclairer
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Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:39 am
Location: Houston
Contact:

thank you

Post by Whitneyclairer »

you're the best!!
Whitney
Whitney Riley
resham.gahla
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:51 am

I got spina bifida cured

Post by resham.gahla »

hi,
I am 23 male from India. Almost three years i found myself affected with spina bifida. I was told that this is incurable disease and I will have to live along this.Then I met my cousin who is a homeopathic doctor. I got my treatment from him for 2 years and my last test reports indicate that i have got rid of it. although my back is not yet so strong and i need to exercise on it now,,but I got rid off Spina Bifida.

I suggest you may also consult a homeopathician.It may help you as well.
God bless
YogaBaby
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:04 am

Re: Yin Yoga and Spina bifida

Post by YogaBaby »

Whitneyclairer wrote:Bernie,
My student has an 11 year old son who has a very, very slight case of spina bifida. He does not suffer from paralysis, and you would never know unless informed. Her doctor said that it might get worse over the next few growing/puberty years. I mentioned how yin yoga stimulates the bones to help with bone degeneration, and she wanted to know if it would help her son grow vertebra bone.
I told her that might be a little different than keeping bone density levels, but I thought I would see what you thought. ???
I welcome all ages to class, but do you think that the practice will hurt her son with his condition? Also, is yin yoga appropriate for young practitioners?
Thank you for all your time and energy!!
Wow! I was totally unaware that yoga could assist with increasing bone density. After stumbling upon this thread (while looking for info on osteoporosis), I went off using the search string "yoga and bone density." Low and behold, I found lots of articles (including this one from Prevention: http://www.prevention.com/health/fitnes ... 281eac____) that proved the yoga/bone density statement to hold validity. I personally don't have spina bifida, but it IS interesting that you should inquire about yoga's effects on that condition. Negative OR positive. If yoga is capable of increasing bone density, what's to keep yoga from alleviating the spacing or separation of the spinal area? Of course, like most things, DO talk to your doctor before participating in ANY physical activity. ;)

Now, I have a question for you guys. My apologies if it seems silly, but this is really important to me. Cancer is a big thing that just so happens to run in my family. From what I've noticed, many of these cancers develop because there are already initial problems with that part of the body. For example: One of my relatives has large breast tissue and that put her at higher risk for breast cancer. She DID indeed get breast cancer, but she's since gotten over it through surgery and chemo (thank goodness). Having just been diagnosed with osteoporosis, I'm curious to know if my brittle bones or bone density will put me at higher risk for bone/cartilage cancers like chondrosarcoma. Has anyone heard of such a thing? I'm really, really curious!

Anyway, I hope all is well with you fine folks. Never stay quiet in the doctor's office. Talk that doctor's ear off -- you may just learn something. ;)

Thanks!!!! :D
Last edited by YogaBaby on Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Yoga Baby
Bernie
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Yoga and cancer

Post by Bernie »

Dr Timothy McCall has written about yoga and cancer and to paraphrase him, "while yoga is not proven to prevent cancer {how would you prove that?} reducing stress has been shown to reduce the effects of cancer" and of course yoga is a great way to reduce stress. (Check the chapter on cancer in his book Yoga as Medicine.)

If you are concerned about your own risk of cancer, I would recommend you read Bruce Lipton's first book, The Biology of Belief. I have met and talked to Bruce and he has some very important studies and observations that show just how often cancer is something that we trigger, not something that we are predestined to get. The fear that so many of have is based on a fear of our genes. We are told that if our mothers/fathers/aunts have had cancer, then we are at risk as well because we have those genes. As Bruce will show you, our genes are simply blueprints: they don't do anything! A blueprint can't decide to be built, it is up to the contractor to decide which blueprint to use when he builds a house. Guess who the contractor is in your life?

As for osteoporosis, you can find several threads here discussing Yin Yoga role. Check out this thread for example.

Cheers
Bernie
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