A basic yoga pose, practiced for an average of 1.5 minutes a day, 6 days a week for 2 months, reduced idiopathic scoliosis curves for adolescent and adult patients an average of 32%, according to a study published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine.
The 25-participant trial, conducted by Loren Fishman, MD, Karen Sherman and Eric Groessl was evaluator-blinded, X-ray based and used the standard Cobb method for measuring results. Of 19 compliant patients who practiced the yoga more than three times a week, adolescents improved 49.6% while adults improved 38.4%.
All patients practiced a side plank pose on one side only – the side of the scoliosis curve.
“Since scoliosis is an asymmetrical condition, I have treated it asymmetrically, asking patients to do the pose on the weaker side only. That strengthens the specific spinal muscles on the convex side that are needed to help with curve reduction,” Fishman stated in a press release. “While the National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF) recommends 25 yoga poses, it does not cite clinical results and does not suggest that the poses be done asymmetrically.”
Fishman’s research method called for an initial office examination, followed by an X-ray performed and evaluated by an unaffiliated radiologist. The patient was then taught the yoga and did the yoga. After an average of 6.8 months, a second X-ray was independently evaluated.
“Asymetrically strengthening the convex side of the primary curve with daily practice of the Side Plank (yoga pose) held for as long as possible (up to 2 minutes) for 3 [months] to 22 months appeared to reduce the primary sclerotic curve,” according to study results.
Fishman said further research is warranted.
Fishman L. Serial Case Reporting for Idiopathic and Degenerative Scoliosis. Global Advances in Health and Medicine. 2014:3(5):16-21.