For women with fibromyalgia, taking up yoga may offer a host of health benefits. In a pilot study of 53 fibromyalgia patients, researchers found that a yoga-based treatment program helped improve functioning, lessen pain, boost energy levels, and lift mood.
The study's eight-week treatment program was tailored to tackle the physical and emotional troubles commonly experienced by people with fibromyalgia (a condition marked by a widespread pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points on the body). Each session included a series of gentle yoga poses, in addition to mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, and guidance on using yoga to cope with fibromyalgia-related problems. Compared to 28 patients who received standard care, the 25 members of the study's yoga group showed greater improvements in their fibromyalgia symptoms (as well as in their ability to cope with their condition).
Previous research suggests that massage therapy may also benefit people with fibromyalgia.