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Institutionen för neurobiologi, vårdvetenskap och samhälle Grundutbildning i fysioterapi 180 hp
Examensarbete i fysioterapi, grundnivå 2, 15 högskolepoäng Vårterminen 2017

The effect of Bikram yoga on the intensity and discomfort of the pain


Background: The definition of pain according to IASP is “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”. Treatment is e.g. pharmaceutical drugs, physical activity, heat, mindfulness, breathing and relaxation exercises. There is evidence of yoga reducing the intensity of the pain but there is a lack of research regarding the affective component. Bikram yoga is an international standardized version of Hatha yoga but differs partly by being performed in increased heat and humidity. Bikram yoga’s effect on the intensity and discomfort of pain has not been studied so far. Aim: To study if and what effect Bikram yoga can have on the intensity and discomfort of pain and if there is a correlation between the effect and the amount of performed Bikram yoga classes. Methods: A quantitative study where new practitioners of Bikram yoga estimated the intensity and discomfort of their pain using a numerical rating scale, 0-10, before and after an eight week intervention period. Forty two participants entered the study which was performed at a Bikram yoga studio in the center of Stockholm. Results: Seventeen participants completed the study. Bikram yoga did have a significant positive effect on pain with relief in both intensity and discomfort. The amount of Bikram yoga classes did not have a conclusive effect on pain relief. Conclusion: This study revealed that Bikram yoga can have a significant positive pain relieving effect on the intensity and discomfort of the pain.
Key words: Exercise, Mind-body therapies, Pain, Physical therapy modalities, Respiration