Performing the namaz right could be an effective way to reduce lower back pain, according to a new research paper published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
"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,'' said a press release sent by Binghamton University, State University of New York. "The complex physical movements of the ritual can reduce lower back pain if performed regularly and properly,'' it said.
The university's Mohammad Khasawneh, who is the main author of the study, 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.''
Researchers analyzed 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. Khasawneh's group found that the bowing portion 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 kneeling posture (sujud) increases the elasticity of joints. It is recommended for these individuals (those with lower back pain) to spend more time in the kneeling posture," Khasawneh said. On the flipside, using incorrect angles and movements can increase pain.