Yoga teachers and practitioners have always believed, and now they are out to prove to doubting scientists that the therapy can help offer relief to people with chronic low back pain.
A team of yoga teachers, practitioners and academics will be carrying out a 12-week course of yoga, to scientifically determine whether or not it can help alleviate back pain.
AdvertisementAs a part of the course, the team will assess moves from the two most popular types of yoga - Iyengar yoga and hatha yoga.
The research will involve more than 260 people between the ages of 18 and 65 who have had back pain in the past 18 months.
The research will be lead by David Torgerson, director of the University of York Clinical trials Unit, and Jennifer Klaber Moffett, deputy director of the Institute of Rehabilitation at the University of Hull.
Professor Torgerson said that while recent, small studies in the US have shown that yoga can be helpful for back pain sufferers, a larger study would serve to put any lingering doubts to rest.
"Yoga offers a combination of physical exercise with mental focus that may make it a suitable therapy for the treatment of low back pain. If the trial shows yoga to be effective then this low-cost treatment will have a considerable impact in the quality of life of patients with back pain," the BBC quoted Professor Torgerson, as saying.
As a part of the study, half of the volunteers will be given lessons in yoga, while the other half will receive the regular care give.
They will then be assessed at the end of the classes, then six months and a year later to see if there are any longer-term benefits.
"Regular yoga increases the benefits, and we would hope that at the end of the 12 weeks people would carry on," said Anna Semlyen, a yoga teacher also involved in the study.
The Arthritis Research Campaign-backed project will begin from November this year.