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Ask The Expert


Q: While we were in the cat position at a recent yoga class, our instruc-tor said that we were gently massaging our belly organs and, at other points, ridding toxins from our spines. We wondered, is it true?

A: “I think yoga does great things for muscles, the heart, and the brain,” says Dr. Robert Wolfson, an internist in Mount Kisco. “But I doubt the claim that it does anything to other organs.” He explains that internal organs are extremely well protected and insulated and that, generally, it takes a very severe trauma to affect them. “I haven’t seen very much scientific literature written about it, and I try to keep an open mind, but I can’t see anatomically how you can ‘reach’ internal organs. I don’t think they’re positioned in a way so that you can massage them—but I think that’s a good thing. Otherwise, we would constantly be aware of our organs.”

In terms of ridding toxins from your body, Dr. Karen Pechman, director of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Burke Rehabilitation Center and White Plains Hospital, says, “If you interpret the term ‘toxins’ very broadly, then yes, the exercise of muscles will increase circulation to those areas and rid those tissues of ‘toxins,’ such as carbon dioxide and other normal byproducts of metabolism. Otherwise, there’s no ‘detoxing,’ from toxins or poisons from yoga.”
// MI

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