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Professor will present research findings on yoga at osteoarthritis world congress

Courtesy of Corjena Cheung.

So, can we use yoga to manage osteoarthritis? According to a pilot study by Corjena Cheung ’87, Ph.D., RN, the answer is yes.

The associate professor of nursing at St. Catherine University, received a two-year $120,000 grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies in 2010 to study the use of yoga by women over 65 to manage knee osteoarthritis.

Cheung recruited 36 participants for a pilot study conducted last fall. The participants were randomly assigned to either the immediate treatment or the delay treatment control group.  All participants received eight weeks of yoga intervention involving both group-based and home-based exercise sessions.

Preliminary results based on the first group revealed that yoga improves pain, stiffness and physical function of the lower extremities in four weeks with continuing improvements at eight weeks.  In addition:

  • The majority of older women participated in more than 75 percent of classes. Common barriers to participation were illness and lack of transportation. 
  • The participants practiced on average 112 minutes per week at home, and 67 percent practiced more than four days per week.  No adverse events were reported during both class and home practice sessions.
  • All 18 participants enjoyed the yoga intervention program and would recommend yoga to others.

Follow up and international conference
Cheung is now completing the data analysis of all 36 participants and conducting a six-month follow-up study.

“We asked the participants to videotape their home yoga practice,” she explains. “Because we want to know the frequency and poses, and if they’re still practicing what they learned correctly at home.”

Cheung will present the preliminary findings of her pilot study at the World Congress on Osteoarthritis in Barcelona, Spain, April 26–29.

“I’m excited to share my study internationally and to learn from other osteoarthritis researchers,” she says. “This is the first randomized controlled trial in the United States that tested the feasibility and safety of yoga for osteoarthritis with a long-term adherence component in it.”

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Related story: St. Kate’s professor investigating yoga's effects on osteoarthritis


March 23, 2012 by Pauline Oo

See also: Faculty, Healthcare, Leadership