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Thai Yoga Improves Flexibility

If your clients need to improve their flexibility, you may want to encourage them to try Thai yoga during their time away from training. In a review of randomized controlled trials, researchers found that consistent practice of Thai yoga improved muscular flexibility and specific joint range of motion. Thai yoga is from traditional Thai medicine and includes gentle dynamic stretching, deep breathing, meditation and self-acupressure.

Researchers conducted the review to determine the fitness benefits of Thai yoga. Meeting the criteria for inclusion in the review were seven randomized controlled trials; these featured 185 participants who trained 90Ð180 minutes per week. Thai yoga practice resulted in greater body flexibility after 4 weeks of practice, with continued improvements at 8 and 12 weeks. Joint range of motion increased in the right shoulder.

More research is needed to identify the mechanisms of action and other potential flexibility outcomes. The study is available in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2017; doi:10.1089/acm.2017.0257).

Shirley Eichenberger-Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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