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Yin Yoga and Arthritis

 
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Whitneyclairer



Joined: 17 Apr 2009
Posts: 4
Location: Houston

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:45 am    Post subject: Yin Yoga and Arthritis Reply with quote

I read the post about hand arthritis, but I just got a student who is in a lot of pain. She is 35 and suffers from total body artritis and asked, "Would your class be good for arthritis? Is it gentle enough or can it be modified for someone (me) who's in a lot of physical pain right now?"

I know she should consult with a doctor first, but it is my gut feeling that this will be good for her condition.

Could you confirm or share your thoughts and/or experiences?
Thanks!!!
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1004
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:20 am    Post subject: Yin Yoga and Arthritis Reply with quote

This question gets asked quite frequently: basically the question is - can (or should) a student who has arthritis do Yin Yoga? Is it good for her? The answer, as always, is Yes but maybe No! It all depends. She should first check with her health care professional.

I know, this is a vague answer, but without knowing the exact condition of the student, where the arthritis is, and how severe it is, it is impossible to suggest a detailed approach. But let me talk about the 4 reasons people may want to include Yin Yoga as part of their yoga practice. People do Yin Yoga so they can get the following;

i) Physiological benefits
ii) Energetic Benefits
iii) Emotional and Mental Benefits
iv) Spiritual Benefits

We won't go into each area in detail, that would take a whole book! But just by listing these 4 key reasons we can see that the physical reasons for doing a Yin Yoga practice is not the only reason. Even if a student has limited range of motion or mobility, she can still get the other benefits of Yin Yoga. So, with proper care and instruction, why not let her do a gentle form of Yin Yoga?

Obviously you can create a Yin Yoga class that would be gentle enough for someone with severe arthritis, but the question is - will you? If you are offering a general Yin Yoga class and invite this particular student to join the class, you will have to dial back the intensity and time for each posture a lot. As a result your class may become too gentle for your regular students. Is that fair to them? I don't know, you would have to check your class situation and decide. I suspect a better option would be to invite this student to a private class, or direct her to a restorative yoga class, where many of the poses are yin-like anyway.

Physiologically, there are benefits to compressing the joints and bones. This is covered in other posts. Whether this particular student is ready for the stress, however, you can't decide. Again, she needs professional guidance. With that, you can perhaps work with her, one-on-one to create a therapeutic Yin Yoga sequence for her. Below, I am including an edited version of, and a link to, a study that was recently reported in Science about the progress that is being made in rebuilding tissues, and the role that stressing the tissue plays in the recovery.

Good luck!
Bernie


TISSUE ENGINEERING:
Coming Soon to a Knee Near You: Cartilage Like Your Very Own
Weaving materials science and biology together, researchers are drawing closer to the elusive goal of recreating tissues that do the body's work, such as cartilage and muscle

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/322/5907/1460

The most common type of cartilage damage is the widespread loss of tissue that's a hallmark of many forms of arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis costs the U.S. economy alone $128 billion per year in medical bills and indirect expenses, including lost wages and productivity. In arthritis patients, the healthy cartilage that lubricates and cushions the impact between adjoining bones breaks down over time. Bones then rub directly against one another, causing pain and loss of movement in the joint. Cartilage contains no nerves. So by the time patients feel pain, significant amounts of cartilage may already be gone.

....

Researchers have focused on coaxing the body to grow its own additional cartilage cells on a synthetic template, rather than trying to recreate cartilage from scratch. Researchers have seeded cartilage-producing chondrocytes onto synthetic scaffolds in vitro for decades in hopes that this would cause the cells to generate new cartilage with the same impressive properties as the native version. But the results have almost always been disappointing. Chondrocytes do grow and put out a mixture of collagen and charged compounds called proteoglycans. But the resulting cartilage winds up far weaker.

Ateshian has recently made tougher cartilage by applying a little force of his own. Growing cartilage can sense mechanical stress and responds by becoming stronger, akin to the way that weight training helps build strong bones. Ateshian applied this principle back in 2000, when his team reported seeding a culture of chondrocytes onto a synthetic hydrogel and compressing the gel in a chamber. The resulting new cartilage was five times stronger than that created without mechanical loading. Recently, the team has boosted that strength up to about 20% of that of native cartilage by cycling the compression on and off and adding a cocktail of growth factors.

...

In a variation on this theme, Rocky Tuan, a tissue engineer at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, is also putting weight on tissues and adding growth factors. But Tuan and his colleagues deposit their cells atop fibers of a biodegradable polymer called poly(alpha-hydroxy ester). Tuan first learned to spin the fibers a decade ago with an apparatus akin to those that spin cotton candy from sugar. His lab has since perfected techniques to align the fibers to better control cartilage growth and resist compression. Tuan says his team's artificial cartilage now also has about 20% of the strength of native cartilage. "We would like to get to 40% to 50%," Tuan says. He adds that most clinicians believe that will be good enough to restore mobility for many patients. In a paper in press at the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, Tuan and his colleagues report that after implanting their synthetic cartilage into pigs' hip joints, the material seemed to integrate well with the native cartilage; the animals appeared to walk normally as well.
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Whitneyclairer



Joined: 17 Apr 2009
Posts: 4
Location: Houston

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bernie,
Thank you so much for your response. I spent seven hours yesterday reading questions and responses, articles, and on reading your website. This is such a wonderful resource. I also heard your interview on Yoga Peeps. Thanks for your contribution to yoga, shared information, and all the time you put into it.
The woman who prompted this inquiry is coming to try out the class next Wed., and I feel very confident it will be a great experience for both of us.
Best!
Whitney
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Whitney Riley
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1004
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:19 am    Post subject: Recent research in rebuilding cartilage Reply with quote

Nanoscale Scaffolds and Stem Cells Show Promise in Cartilage Repair
Release Date: 07/17/2012

Johns Hopkins tissue engineers have used tiny, artificial fiber scaffolds thousands of times smaller than a human hair to help coax stem cells into developing into cartilage, the shock-absorbing lining of elbows and knees that often wears thin from injury or age.

[See the full article here.]

The wide spread use of this and other scaffolding technology is still a few years away, but it is looking better and better!
Cheers
Bernie
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1004
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:31 am    Post subject: Inducing stem cells to produce cartilage Reply with quote

More interesting research is showing great promise in regenerating our own cartilage. Check out this study.

Altering stem cells to make growth factors needed for replacement tissue inside the body
February 21, 2014

An artistic rendering of human stem cells on polymer scaffolds (credit: Charles Gersbach and Farshid Guilak, Duke University)

By combining a synthetic scaffolding material with gene delivery techniques to direct stem cells into becoming new cartilage, Duke University researchers are getting closer to being able to generate replacement cartilage where its needed in the body.
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sjeanjaquet



Joined: 20 Oct 2018
Posts: 1
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:10 pm    Post subject: Managin Pain Sensation and Arthritis Reply with quote

Hi,

I have a student who has arthritis in her feet/toes. In a class we were working through listening to your sensations and if it's pain to move out. This came up through toe pose. She wanted to know if that same principle applies to when you have arthritis? Since theres pretty pain there no matter what. I wasn't quite sure what the answer was so I told her I'd research and get back to her. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Thank you!
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Bernie



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1004
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, for some people (those in chronic pain) the advice to not move into pain is not helpful. For these people, life is pain. What do they do?

I have addressed this topic in an article called Good pain, Bad pain. Perhaps I can refer you to it, rather than retype it all here. (See the section called "Chronic pain and sensitization".)

I hope it helps!
Cheers
Bernie
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