Hot Yoga: Cure for Bursitis

September 11th, 2009 by Tonya Zavasta

A nasty case of hip bursitis, it was. Overexertion. I’d injured myself in the gym, just going at it too hard. And that led to my introduction to Bikram yoga. Many people have read my story in Beautiful On Raw. An internet search for a way to deal with bursitis turned up a recommendation from a former sufferer. He claimed Bikram yoga was a tremendous help to him, so I decided I’d give it a go. And the rest, as they say, is history!

If you don’t know how painful bursitis can be, consider yourself lucky. Bursitis is a painful inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs called ‘bursae’. The bursae (singular: bursa) serve as smooth surfaces to help reduce friction between uneven surfaces of the body, helping tendons move smoothly over bones, particularly around the larger joints. When this inflammation occurs, every movement delivers excruciating pain. Some common causes for this inflammation are trauma or injury, overuse, infection, arthritis, or post-surgical complications. Sometimes the cause is unknown.

Standard treatments for bursitis begin with simply taking anti-inflammatory pain medication, resting the affected area, and applying icepacks during the first few days, then moist heat after that. If relief doesn’t come, a doctor will sometimes then inject a corticosteroid into the bursa to combat the inflammation. If the bursitis arises from infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Often physicians will also prescribe physical therapy targeted at the affected area, usually including gentle stretching to improve the range of motion.

This is where Bikram yoga comes in to relieve the suffering of bursitis. The Bikram yoga series was actually designed as a form of physical therapy, targeting the major muscles and joints. This combination of gentle stretching and therapeutic poses, done in a hot, humid room, can be extremely soothing for bursitis pain. Raising your body temperature serves to enhance the immune system and sweats out harmful toxins at the same time. Exercise of this kind also releases endorphins, your body’s natural pain killer. You can see why Bikram yoga is gaining a worldwide reputation for its tremendous restorative results.

Your best adjunct to the soothing, refreshing and healing effects of Bikram yoga: eating a raw food diet! Raw foods can be your secret weapon in battling inflammation and enhancing your body’s ability to heal quickly from trauma or injury. Consuming mainly pure, clean, unprocessed food which hasn’t had the vitamins, minerals and enzymes cooked out of it, you flood your body with nutrients it needs to cleanse and heal on a cellular level. Remember the quote by the famous ancient physician Hippocrates: Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

My latest book, Raw Foods and Hot Yoga: From Severe Disability to Superior Health, is filled with information on how I conquered a plethora of physical problems with the combination of raw foods and Bikram yoga. You may be a yoga practitioner or a raw foods aficionado. Whichever one you are, try adding the other. Or you may not yet be either a yoga enthusiast or following a raw food diet—you may just be “curious.” Wherever you are in your journey, know this…Improvement in exercise is always good. Improving your diet, leaning more toward the freshness and goodness of raw vegetables and fruits, will certainly add to your well-being. The combination is unbeatable. General good health—and for sufferers of bursitis and similar ailments, relief from pain—is waiting just past the produce aisle and down the block at your neighborhood Bikram yoga studio. Try it—you’ll be glad you did!

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