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Yoga stretches designed for those with scoliosis

March 08, 2004|Jeannine Stein

Many people who practice yoga find that not only do they sleep better and become more flexible, but they experience other health benefits as well. Those with scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) and back pain have found that the stretching and muscle conditioning involved in yoga helps relieve their discomfort. An at-home program, designed specifically for such patients, could help more people benefit from yoga.

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"Yoga for Scoliosis": This program on DVD and video was developed by Elise Browning Miller, a certified Iyengar yoga instructor from Northern California who has used yoga for years to deal with her own scoliosis. Yoga will not cure scoliosis, she says, but it can help manage the effects, including poor posture and muscle strain. It can also help general back pain. The video includes information on scoliosis from an orthopedic surgeon, and instruction on poses from Miller.

"Any general type of active conditioning exercise can be beneficial" for some cases of scoliosis and back pain, says Dr. Jeffrey Wang, director of the UCLA Spine Center. That includes yoga, but he cautions that a doctor should be consulted before beginning any exercise program. Because not all yoga instructors are created equal, anyone considering a class should first find out what it entails, and research the teacher's credentials and experience.

Price: $34.95 on DVD or VHS; available at www.yogaforscoliosis.com.

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-- Jeannine Stein

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