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Ramat Beit Shemesh - Yoga Shown Effective For Treating Chronic Neck Pain

Published on: January 2, 2013 07:27 PM
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Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men took part Wednesday in a yoga class at a studio in Ramat Beit Shemesh, about 12 miles from Jerusalem. Almost a dozen devout Jewish men meet weekly at the studio, the only one of its kind in the area. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men took part Wednesday in a yoga class at a studio in Ramat Beit Shemesh, about 12 miles from Jerusalem. Almost a dozen devout Jewish men meet weekly at the studio, the only one of its kind in the area. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

Ramat Beit Shemesh - According to published estimates, some 20 percent of the population suffers from chronic neck pain caused by a variety of structural dysfunctions in the neck, resulting in impaired quality of life and lost work time. A German study published in The Journal of Pain showed that yoga appears to be an effective treatment for neck pain and provides added benefits of improved psychological well being and quality of life. The Journal of Pain is the per-review publication of the American Pain Society, www.ampainsoc.org.

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The mainstay of conservative treatment for neck pain is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and the evidence of its effectiveness is contradictory while side effects, such as nausea and dizziness, are well known. The authors noted that one type of yoga, called lyengar yoga, has been shown effective in other pain syndromes, including low back pain. This activity uses supportive props and the sequences of postures can be tailored to address an individual’s medical problem. No randomized controlled clinical trials have been published to assess the efficacy of lyengar yoga for adults with chronic neck pain.

Researchers at Charité-University Medical Center in Berlin and other sites in Germany and Austria studied 77 volunteer patients. Thirty-eight were assigned to the yoga group and 39 to a group treated with exercise. Unfortunately, the dropout rate was higher than anticipated as 24 subjects withdrew or were lost to follow-up. This reduced the study sample to 25 patients in the yoga group and 28 in self-care exercise. They were asked to complete a standardized questionnaire at the outset of the study, after four weeks, and after ten weeks.

The findings showed there was a significant and clinically important reduction in pain intensity in the yoga group. The authors reasoned that yoga might enhance both the toning of muscles and releasing of muscle tension. Relaxation responses, therefore, could reduce stress related muscle tension and modify neurobiological pain perception. They concluded, based on the study data, that lyengar yoga can be a safe and effective treatment option for chronic neck pain. The study results are consistent with the demonstrated benefits of yoga for treating low back pain.


Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post


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1

 Jan 02, 2013 at 07:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Very good article. Too bad many ill-informed and narrow-minded rabbonim have equated classical yoga with all sorts of "new age" meshugaas and apikorsus and have intimidated their followers in the frum tizubr from pursuing yoga as either a physical fitness or therapeutic regimen. Yoga is somthing every frum yid should learn about and for many, it will be shown to have tremendous benefits without compromising their haskhafah or violating halacha.

2

 Jan 02, 2013 at 07:42 PM Rachel W. Says:

Cool. What about their wives who ail? Oh, I get it. This time apart relieves the women of their pain in the neck.

3

 Jan 02, 2013 at 07:53 PM BLONDI Says:

Reply to #2  
Rachel W. Says:

Cool. What about their wives who ail? Oh, I get it. This time apart relieves the women of their pain in the neck.

very well said!!

4

 Jan 02, 2013 at 10:07 PM Supermom Says:

Reply to #2  
Rachel W. Says:

Cool. What about their wives who ail? Oh, I get it. This time apart relieves the women of their pain in the neck.

Lol

5

 Jan 02, 2013 at 10:55 PM Shmendrick Says:

Yoga is not merely exercises. It is deeply rooted in Avoda Zara. It is very difficult to "kasher" yoga. Consult with a Rov who knows well both Hilchos AZ (average Rov is unfamiliar with these Halochos!) and Yoga's origin in AZ (average Rov is unaware of this!) before engaging in an activity that can destroy your soul.

6

 Jan 03, 2013 at 02:30 AM nphatti Says:

The opening of some classes include movements taken from idolatrous rites. These bowing movements are not essential to the yoga exercises.
If the yoga class is given by a frum person, he would be aware of these things and ignore them.
A competent Rav should be asked about the meditation process; whether this is a religious rite, or just a method of concentrating.
I attended a short class, which was given at the end of a Gym session for kicks, and instead of a stupid 'zummm' noise to relax with, I recited the Shma ovber and aver again. I found the combination very relaxing and uplifting physically and mentally.

7

 Jan 03, 2013 at 04:47 AM proud-mo-israeli Says:

Reply to #5  
Shmendrick Says:

Yoga is not merely exercises. It is deeply rooted in Avoda Zara. It is very difficult to "kasher" yoga. Consult with a Rov who knows well both Hilchos AZ (average Rov is unfamiliar with these Halochos!) and Yoga's origin in AZ (average Rov is unaware of this!) before engaging in an activity that can destroy your soul.

shmendrick by name & by nature! Mabruck!

8

 Jan 03, 2013 at 09:15 AM MBYIsrael Says:

Reply to #6  
nphatti Says:

The opening of some classes include movements taken from idolatrous rites. These bowing movements are not essential to the yoga exercises.
If the yoga class is given by a frum person, he would be aware of these things and ignore them.
A competent Rav should be asked about the meditation process; whether this is a religious rite, or just a method of concentrating.
I attended a short class, which was given at the end of a Gym session for kicks, and instead of a stupid 'zummm' noise to relax with, I recited the Shma ovber and aver again. I found the combination very relaxing and uplifting physically and mentally.

But your reciting Sh'ma is only half the solution and I'm not sure there is a complete one. Every pose in yoga is a representation of an animal which in turn represents the Hindu "god" (malach) who possesses and bestows the characteristics of that animal. When you do the "cobra" for example, you are calling forth that malach to act on your behalf. Not only that, each entity has dominion over a specific part of the body, the cobra being the spine, especially the lower sacral spine. There are many forms of meditation that are appropriate for Jews but invoking malachim from idolatrous religions are not included.

Stretching is good and there are many exercise regimens that can help one's spine but turning yourself into an idol of avodah sara is one one of them.

9

 Jan 03, 2013 at 09:47 AM Geulah Says:

Reply to #8  
MBYIsrael Says:

But your reciting Sh'ma is only half the solution and I'm not sure there is a complete one. Every pose in yoga is a representation of an animal which in turn represents the Hindu "god" (malach) who possesses and bestows the characteristics of that animal. When you do the "cobra" for example, you are calling forth that malach to act on your behalf. Not only that, each entity has dominion over a specific part of the body, the cobra being the spine, especially the lower sacral spine. There are many forms of meditation that are appropriate for Jews but invoking malachim from idolatrous religions are not included.

Stretching is good and there are many exercise regimens that can help one's spine but turning yourself into an idol of avodah sara is one one of them.

Every aberration of Hashem's creations becomes an Avodah Zorah??? So we should destroy the moon and the sun??? I think that this discussion took place about 2500 years ago and it was concluded that others mishegoss doesn't have to be appropriated by a Yid. I really doubt that a Yoga teacher is calling out the Hindu equivalent of the pose that people are bending into while they're doing it, just as I strongly doubt that when people are doing aveirahs they're thinking about the anti-malach their creating.

10

 Jan 03, 2013 at 09:52 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Shmendrick Says:

Yoga is not merely exercises. It is deeply rooted in Avoda Zara. It is very difficult to "kasher" yoga. Consult with a Rov who knows well both Hilchos AZ (average Rov is unfamiliar with these Halochos!) and Yoga's origin in AZ (average Rov is unaware of this!) before engaging in an activity that can destroy your soul.

Yes, many Yidden who take up yoga, go on to leave Yiddishkeit and start bowing to idols! Yeah right!

11

 Jan 03, 2013 at 04:32 PM yogi Says:

Having taught yoga for many years with the guidance of my Rav, there is no need to chant, meditate, invoke the Hindu "divine" or anythiing else which is contrary to Torah. Yoga can be used for its physical and mental awareness without any of that. If you attend a class with chanting you're in the wrong place!

12

 Jan 03, 2013 at 04:34 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
nphatti Says:

The opening of some classes include movements taken from idolatrous rites. These bowing movements are not essential to the yoga exercises.
If the yoga class is given by a frum person, he would be aware of these things and ignore them.
A competent Rav should be asked about the meditation process; whether this is a religious rite, or just a method of concentrating.
I attended a short class, which was given at the end of a Gym session for kicks, and instead of a stupid 'zummm' noise to relax with, I recited the Shma ovber and aver again. I found the combination very relaxing and uplifting physically and mentally.

It's Om. Sounds like it was a scheister teacher. Lots of fitness instructors claim they are certified in yoga and they've had no formal training at all.

Beware!

13

 Jan 03, 2013 at 06:03 PM Anonymous Says:

The above picture is not genuine yoga. Traditional yoga never has anyone hanging from anything. Headstands, shoulder stands, handstands are all done with the body weight resting on the wall or for advanced students, freely away from support.

14

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