Effects of Chair Yoga, Reiki and Educational Intervention on Osteoarthritis

Senior (College 4th year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・1 Sources

The Effects of Chair Yoga and Reiki on Osteoarthritis Patients

The article by Park, McCaffrey, Dunn & Goodman (2011) "Managing osteoarthritis: comparisons of chair yoga, Reiki, and education (pilot study)" was published in Holistic nursing practice Journal in 2011. The volume number is 25 and it is in issue 6 from page 316-326. This is a pilot study, whose aim was to find out whether pain, depressive mood and physical function are affected by chair yoga and Relki compared with an educational program targeting older adults that have osteoarthritis (OA). The older adults were focused because joint destruction in OA occurs with use, and thereby disproportionately affect this population. Those that cope with OA symptoms often have a cycle of chronic pain accompanied with decreased function, raised anxiety and depression feelings and social isolation. Therefore, the authors wanted to find out the effects that chair yoga intervention and a Reiki intervention have on the extent of the physical impairment and pain compared to educational intervention in OA patients.

Theoretical Framework of the Study

The authors have described the theoretical framework of the study as the gate control theory of pain that is founded on the understanding that both physical and mental components are involved in chronic pain. According to the American Pain Society (APS), there is a chronic pain cycle that is consistent with the theory of gate control. Even after reducing the physical cause of pain, the chronic pain cycle goes on. Intruding the focus on chronic pain is among the effective approaches for unsettling and ending the cycle of chronic pain.

Yoga and Reiki as Therapies

According to Park, McCaffrey, Dunn & Goodman (2011), literature has showed that yoga has been used as a pain therapy for many years. The practice harmonizes the mind and the body to enhance health and make someone have a sense of wellbeing through its principles of proper exercise, relaxation, diet, breathing and meditation. Hath yoga is the most common in western culture and entails postures and breathing. While postures enhance the circulation of blood, breath is perceived as the source of body's life. Yoga reduces stress, depression, back pains, improve function and reduce the usage of mediation. Chair yoga has been used by the elderly for security purposes. Reiki is an energy therapy that changes life energy to reestablish the natural health of the body. The word means universal life energy. The energy from the hands is used to channel bodily energies, thereby improving emotional, physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It also serves to relieve pain. Both therapies have been evidenced to enhance life quality in the elderly.

Research Design and Objectives

This study is a basic research. Park, McCaffrey, Dunn & Goodman (2011) report that all the interventions that were applied in this research had been known for their importance in improving health and general wellness. Therefore, the study expands the knowledge of the interventions in the control of pin in osteoarthritis.

The study was a quantitative research. The authors aimed at discovering facts about the three interventions that included the hair yoga, Reiki and educational interventions to osteoarthritis. In addition, the data was reported through statistical analysis after numerical comparisons of the collected data.

This was a longitudinal research as the comparisons were not at a single point in time, but over time. There were several observations made on the same subjects over a period of time, thereby allowing detection of developments in the characteristics of the elderly population at group and individual level.

The research was an evaluation. This is because the study determined the impact of the interventions to osteoarthritis. There were two research questions that were formulated;

What is the impact of engaging in an eight week chair or Reiki intervention on the chronic pain cycle, physical function, stiffness and emotional wellbeing compared to older adults who only participated in educational sessions? What benefits do older adults with OA that participated identify upon engaging in the eight week chair yoga, Reiki or educational intervention in regard to pain reduction, well-being, functional and mood?

The researchers used a quasi-experimental research design. The authors selected groups upon which the variables were tested without any random process of pre-selection. There were three interventions used in this study. These interventions included chair yoga, Reiki and educational sessions.

Participants and Measurements

29 participants were selected through placement of flyers and announcements at the Florida Atlantic University's Life Long Learning center, at an assisted living institution in the area and by word of mouth. Only the older adults over 55 years that lived independently in the community with OA and had pain for at least 15 days of the month were included in the study. Those that took narcotic analgesic medications, with severe cognitive impairment, unable to come to the research site every week and those that were not able to speak English were excluded.

The sampling method entailed random assignment of the participants to the yoga group or the Reiki group and the educational group. Engaging in an eight week chair or Reiki intervention could break the chronic pain cycle, increase physical function and emotional wellbeing, and reduce stiffness. Older adults with OA that participated in the eight week chair yoga, Reiki or educational intervention showed that yoga and Reiki interventions are beneficial in minimizing pain and stiffness, and in improving physical function of the older adults with OA.

Measurement Scale

The Western Ontario and McMasters Arthritis Index (WOMAC) is a scale that was used to measure the outcomes. It is widely used in measuring symptoms and physical disability. It also examines pain, stiffness and physical function. It has 24 items in pain, stiffness and physical function. The internal consistency and reliability are moderate to excellent for pain. The findings of the study were that there are benefits of yoga and Reiki interventions in regard to reducing pain, improving physical function and reducing stiffness in older adults with OA. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of yoga in a study with rigorous design that has a larger sample size that also requires randomized control trials.


Park, J., McCaffrey, R., Dunn, D., & Goodman, R. (2011). Managing osteoarthritis: comparisons of chair yoga, Reiki, and education (pilot study). Holistic nursing practice, 25(6), 316-326.

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