Praying five times a day, which involves repetitive physical movements, may benefit not only spiritually but also physically. Scientists at Binghamton University in New York have determined that when done properly, it can reduce low-back pain.
According to industrial engineering, Prof. Muhammad Khasawneh, the co-author of the research paper, an ergonomic study of body motions during Muslim prayer using digital human modelling published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering, the complex physical movements during salat can reduce lower-back pain if performed regularly and properly.
“One way to think about the movements is that they are similar to those of yoga or physical therapy intervention exercises used to treat lower back pain,” he said.
Prof Khasawneh further disclosed that the kneeling posture, known as sujud, increases the elasticity of joints.
He added: “Physical health is influenced by socioeconomic, lifestyle and religious factors. Moreover, studies indicate that there is a strong association between prayer and vigilance about maintaining a physically healthy lifestyle.
“Prayer can eliminate physical stress and anxiety, but there is also research that indicates prayer rituals can be considered an effective clinical treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunction.”
The scientists at Binghamton University analysed statistics based on the movements of computer-generated models of healthy Indian, Asian and American men and women and models with lower-back pain. They found that the bowing portion is the most stressful on the lower back, but for individuals with lower-back pain, using proper knee and back angles during the ritual can reduce pain.
Courtesy of Jerusalem Post