Five times a day, approximately 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide bow, kneel and place their heads on the ground in the direction of the holy city of Mecca.
The prayer, known as the Salat, is one of the five obligatory elements of the faith set forth by the holy book, the Qur’an.
And according to a new study, it helps reduce lower back pain symptoms.
Scientists say that if performed regularly and properly, the daily ritual can alleviate pain and increase elasticity of the joints.
While other studies have looked at the psychological effects of prayer, this is one of the first to look at possible physiological benefits.
The study, conducted by Binghamton University in New York, used computer-generated human models of healthy Indian, Asian, and American men and women to look at the prayer’s effect on lower back pain.
Researchers 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 this discomfort.