Potential benefits of yoga for fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition with widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, depression, and low cortisol levels.

Researchers at York University, in Toronto, Ontario, evaluated women with fibromyalgia before and after a yoga class.

First, the details.

  • 22 women with fibromyalgia participated in a 75 minute yoga class twice weekly for 8 weeks.
  • Questionnaires concerning pain (intensity, unpleasantness, quality, sum of local areas of pain, catastrophizing, acceptance, disability), anxiety, depression, and mindfulness were administered before, during and after the class.
  • Salivary levels of cortisol were measured 3 times a day for each of 2 days, pre- and post-yoga.

And, the results.

  • There was significant improvement in continuous pain, pain catastrophizing, pain acceptance, and mindfulness.
  • Cortisol levels were significantly higher after yoga.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Yoga intervention may reduce pain and catastrophizing, increase acceptance and mindfulness, and alter total cortisol levels in women with fibromyalgia.”

This is a preliminary study. More research will be needed to confirm the findings.

8/1/11 22:19 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.