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U.S. News

New York Times Examines Yoga as Physical, Emotional Therapy for People Living With HIV/AIDS, Other Chronic Diseases

December 15, 2005

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

The New York Times on Thursday examined how people with chronic diseases -- including HIV/AIDS, cancer, osteoporosis and Crohn's disease -- increasingly are choosing yoga classes to help reduce discomfort caused by medication side effects and pain and provide them with emotional support to manage their illnesses. Physicians often recommend yoga to their patients "for the stress-relieving benefits of both exercise and meditation," but students say that because they often are exercising with people who have similar illnesses, the sessions provide them with emotional encouragement, particularly if the sessions include support group meetings held after the yoga class. Some physicians believe it is dangerous to give patients "the impression that a practice like yoga could somehow cure their illness," according to the Times. Robert Baratz, president of the National Council Against Health Fraud, said, "It gives some people peace of mind or makes them feel better, ... [b]ut there's no medical or plausible mechanism by which it affects the disease process." Advocates of yoga therapy agree that the practice is not a cure or treatment for chronic illnesses, but they say that by increasing patients' flexibility and heart rate and relaxing their minds, yoga patients can better handle their symptoms and reduce the anxiety they feel. James Murphy -- president of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York, who teaches a free HIV/AIDS class at the association -- said, "We're trying to restore the body and give it juice. ... Even if they've been lying in bed for three weeks with pneumonia, they can start with some poses that can open up their chest" (Lee, New York Times, 12/15).

Back to other news for December 15, 2005


Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2005 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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