The complex physical movements of the Muslim prayer ritual can reduce lower back pain if performed regularly and properly, says a recent research.
Five times a day, roughly 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, bow, kneel, and place their foreheads to the ground in the direction of the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as part of the Islamic prayer ritual, the Salat.
The ritual is one of the five obligatory elements of the faith set forth by the holy book, the Qur’an.
While the research focused specifically on Islamic prayer practices, similar movements are also found in Christian and Jewish prayer rituals along with yoga and physical therapy, researchers said.
"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," said Professor Mohammad Khasawneh from Binghamton University in the US.
"Prayer can eliminate physical stress and anxiety, while there is also research that indicates prayer rituals can be considered an effective clinical treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunction," said Khasawneh.
Researchers analysed statistics based on the movements of computer-generated digital human models of healthy Indian, Asian, and American men and women, and models with lower back pain.
They found that the bowing is the most stressful on the lower back, but for individuals with low back pain, using proper knee and back angles during the ritual can reduce pain. The angles are based on individual body shapes.
The maximum compression forces created during prayer postures is much lower than National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) safety limits, and the movements can be safely considered a clinical treatment for low back pain, as it requires different movements of the human body on a regular basisProfessor Mohammad Khasawneh from Binghamton University
"The kneeling posture (sujud) increases the elasticity of joints. It is recommended for these individuals to spend more time in the kneeling posture," Khasawneh added.
The study was published in the International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
With inputs from agencies