What is an autoimmune disease?
Autoimmune diseases cause your immune cells, which usually fight off viruses and infection, to attack a part of your body. They can attack almost any part of the body, from the thyroid to the pancreas to the skin. Some autoimmune diseases include: Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Celiac Disease, and Type 1 Diabetes. As of 2020, these diseases affected 24 million people in the United States alone.
How can yoga help?
More and more people are turning to a mix of western medicine and traditional practices like yoga to combat illness, symptoms, and pain.
A study of Rheumatoid Arthritis patients showed that incorporating yoga movement into one’s lifestyle can reduce inflammation, which is something autoimmune patients often have or struggle with. It was shown in the same study that yoga can increase endorphins, insulin metabolism, and energy, all of which can be lower for autoimmune patients.
Some studies have found that up to 80% of autoimmune patients experienced an uncommon stressful event before their disease onset. It’s believed that stress on a body, such as pregnancy, chronic infections, and unmanaged chronic stress can trigger autoimmune diseases or even make existing symptoms worse. Yoga practice can help relieve stress through meditation, breathing exercises, and mindful movement to counter this.
Yoga practice, combined with healthy eating, the right medication, and other health precautions can greatly increase the quality of life for those with autoimmune issues. Always consult a doctor for medication and always, always do what feels best for your body.
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