Spafinder President: Red Flag Needed In Yoga Uproar

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Author William J. Broad’s new book The Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards has garnered a lot of attention in the media, especially with the The New York Times’ article last month titled, “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” and The Daily Mail‘s even more alarming headline, “Can Yoga Class Kill You?” from last week. Both were based on Broad’s book.

Those types of articles can make the average yoga class attendee think twice about grabbing their mat, but SpaFinder President Susie Ellis says we need a red flag before over-reacting to such sensational headlines. Indeed, the articles listed frightening injuries people have incurred from yoga, from popped ribs to strokes, but perhaps there’s more to the story, she suggests.

After a careful read of The New York Times article (an excerpt from the book), Ellis remarked, “For one, most of the mentions about serious injuries were from research reported in the early 1970s. In fact, 1,500 words of this article were attributed to these early 70s findings.”

And considering that the article was an excerpt, she further cautions, “When you have a book about the risks and rewards of something, to just publish the risks (or just the rewards) and slap a title on it to underscore that point of view…well, I think that is misleading.”

Highlighting the advancements in spa-related medical evidence, Ellis suggests a look at more modern research, rather than relying on 1970s figures, such as that found at SpaEvidence.com, a website dedicated to consolidating valid medical research on spa and wellness modalities such as massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy and yoga.

“It takes me to the actual medical evidence for various spa modalities so I can put things into context myself. The fact that yoga gets so many high ‘A’ and ‘B’ ratings (that very few other spa or wellness modalities receive), is impressive,” Ellis commented.

She says she looks forward to reading all of Broad’s book (it was just released this month), rather than simply an edited, one-sided excerpt. “I have a feeling the book is going to be a great contribution when read in its entirety,” she said.

Have these articles made you think twice about the benefits of yoga?

Related Links:
Would You Practice Yoga at the Airport? (Poll)
How Yoga Boosts Beauty

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