Patients with joint and muscle pain who seek out the service of a chiropractor are increasingly pursuing yoga as well. If you read a few articles to find out why, you will probably see these two alternative techniques described as a “peanut butter and jelly” type of relationship. The implication is that if one technique is helpful, combining the two will enhance the good effects of each technique and reinforce the benefits.
Why Chiropractic And Yoga Are Complementary
Spinal manipulation techniques practiced by chiropractic doctors are a common technique for relieving back pain and improving the ability to move and walk. The emphasis in chiropractic is on restoring the proper alignment of the body so it functions normally and without pain. An exercise such as yoga will strengthen and train the body to maintain the correct alignment.
Recent studies compiled by the National Institute of Health (NIH) offer validation to the complementary nature of the two therapies. Spinal manipulation, when combined with exercise and prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, works better than physical therapy and home exercise in relieving pain. Other research shows that non-drug regimens that include chiropractic, exercise, massage, and physical therapy can be helpful in treating both acute and chronic pain.
What Chiropractic Starts, Yoga Continues
Given that many back ailments are the result of poor posture, slouching, poor lifting technique, and other behaviors related to the mechanics of the back, an exercise such as yoga that focuses on strengthening muscles and improving range of motion, posture, and balance, reinforces the effects of chiropractic.
- While chiropractic can help restore proper motion to the body, yoga takes the body to the next level by increasing range of motion, flexibility, and joint strength.
- The proper spinal alignment that is the goal of chiropractic helps achieve maximum nervous system function and balance capabilities. Yoga aims to help improve balance which can improve overall nervous system function.
- Chiropractic believes “the power that made the body heals the body,” which means that the body has the power to heal itself once impediments to healing are removed. Also focused on positive thought, yoga can help the body achieve optimal health and reduce the potential for future injuries with the emphasis on strengthening and toning muscles, improving posture, and strengthening the spine.
Yoga Poses With Chiropractic Goals
Within yoga, specific poses impact particular areas of the body once chiropractic helps achieve alignment. For example:
- Adho Mukha Svanasana helps build strength
- Uttanasana, a folding pose, calms the central nervous system and helps stretch and decompress the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical areas of the spine
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, a bridge position, moves the spine in opposite directions to increase range of motion
- Garudasana or Eagle opens the cervical spine and shoulders to combat slouching
- Reverse Namaste opens the chest by drawing the arms behind the back
Chiropractic And Yoga Often Under The Same Roof
Given the complementary nature of chiropractic and yoga, many chiropractic offices offer yoga as a service. While there are many styles and poses of yoga, what is offered along with spinal manipulation services are poses that further these specific goals.
At Raintree Medical and Chiropractic Center, Restorative Yoga and Prenatal Yoga are offered each week. The focus is on mind and muscle relaxation for the restorative session, while the prenatal focuses on breathing, metal centering, and stretching.
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