The Salat an Effective Intervention for Back Pain?

Does Muslim Prayer Reduce Lower Back Pain?

Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York, report that the complex physical movements in the Muslim prayer ritual, the Salat, can be an effective intervention for chronic low back pain, especially if performed on the 5 x daily schedule prescribed in the Qur’an. The researchers say that similarly beneficial results may be obtained from movement found in Christian and Jewish prayer routines, as well as from yoga and forms of physical therapy. Study author Mohammad Khasawneh, PhD, department chair and professor of systems science and industrial engineering at Binghamton University, commented, “One way to think about the movements is that they are similar to those of yoga or physical therapy intervention exercises used to treat low back pain. Moreover, studies indicate that there is a strong association between prayer and vigilance about maintaining a physically healthy lifestyle.” The study report appears in the current issue of the International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering

The research team studied body motions during Muslim prayer using digital modelling of men and women of different ethnicities. Various components of the prayer routine were found to associate with either reduced or increased pain levels, or with contributing to enhanced joint elasticity. The authors recommend further study to identify optimal movements for pain relief, especially for pregnant women or the physically handicapped, and plan to conduct additional experiments to track stresses on individual body parts.

Read more about the research conclusions here. The journal abstract may be accessed here.

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