Fibromyalgia (FM) is a debilitating condition affecting 11-15 million individuals in the US alone. FM carries an annual direct cost for care of more than $20 billion and drug therapies are generally only 30% effective in relieving symptoms and 20% effective in improving function. Standard care currently includes medications accompanied by exercise and coping skills approaches. In a study published in the November issue of PAIN, researchers report patients participating in a "Yoga of Awareness" program showed significantly greater improvement in FM symptoms and functioning compared to patients on a standard FM care program.

"Although yoga has been practiced for millennia, only recently have researchers begun to demonstrate yoga's effects on persons suffering from persistent pain," commented lead investigator James W. Carson, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University. "The Yoga of Awareness program stands in contrast to previous multimodal interventions with FM patients in that it integrates a wide spectrum of yoga-based techniques - postures, mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, application of yogic principles to optimal coping, and group discussions....the findings of this pilot study provide promising preliminary support for the beneficial effects of yoga in patients with FM."

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