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Medical Benefits of Salaat


Article initially posted on Maniac Muslim site dated 12 December 2008 - 02:15 PM

This is an interesting research done on the potential health benefits of Salaat.
Just wanted to share this and see what you guys think about it.


The pattern of the Salaat prayer performed by Muslims is similar all over the world. In our study, the motion of joints during Salaat was measured by a goniometer commonly used by clinicians. We examined the active range of motions for each of the joints that were involved during Salaat. A goniometer has two arms with full-circled scales marked in degrees. It was placed on the joints at different postures of Salaat, and joint angles were measured precisely. Zero degrees were regarded as starting points and motions were recorded as deviation from zero degrees.

Standing for Prayers

Worshippers have to stand and concentrate their minds on praying. A reactive depression is common in geriatric and disabled persons. The determination to pray has a remedial action on depression, and standing helps to develop balance. When people stand comfortably, the center of pressure is usually midway between the instep of the two feet. In a standing position, they raise their hands up to the ear lobe and bring them down one after another by holding the left wrist with the right hand on the abdomen, above the navel, or on the chest. During voluntary clenching of the right hand, blood flow is increased in the hand area of the left motor cortex, and the corresponding sensory areas in the post-central gyrus. What happens to the involved muscles and joints are described in the Table 1.

Worshippers utter some verses from Qur'an which is written in Arabic. Like any other language, various muscles are exercised during speech. There is a bilateral increase in blood flow in the face, tongue, mouth sensory and motor areas, and the upper premotor cortex in the brain during speech . During creative speech, there is also an increase in blood flow in Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas of speech in the brain. Blood flow in the brain can be measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET.)


After standing and uttering some verses from the Qur'an, bowing is done by forward movement of the vertebral column , especially at the lumbar joint, and supported by two straight hands grasping the two hyperextended knees. After a few seconds, the worshipper gradually reverts to the previous state until the vertebral column is vertical. The joints and muscles affected in bowing are shown in Table 2.


The act of prostration is the substance of Salaat. It is done from the standing position to kneeling, putting the head down and touching the ground with the forehead, with the palms remaining parallel to the ears, and touching the ground with the flexed elbows for a few seconds. The various motions have a great impact on blood flow in the human brain. Because of variations in arterial mean pressure in the body, prostration helps in improving cerebral circulation and avoiding ischemic brain disease.

Postural reflex, and tonic labyrinthine reflex are initiated by the force of gravity on the receptors of otolithic organs in the utricle of the inner ear, and are effected via the vestibulospinal tracts. Maximal effect occurs in the supine position and minimal effect occurs when the head is down 60 degrees below the horizontal plane in the prone position. The tonic labyrinthine reflex is responsible for the contraction of the limb extensor muscles. Thus, the various positions of Salaat from the vertical natural position to prostration helps in the maintenance of steadiness of postural equilibrium. During Salaat, Muslims usually keep their eyes fixed on the site of prostration. This visual fixation together with proprioceptive systems, vestibular systems, and the various postures provide a complex positional sense in the brain stem and cerebellum. The joints and muscles involved during prostration are described in Table 3.

Sitting and Finishing Salaat

After standing and bowing, and proceeding to prostration, sitting is done on the left leg knee flexed with the inverted dorsi flexed ankle and flexed right knee and metatansophalangeal joint for a couple of minutes. After that, Salaat is concluded by looking over one’s right and left shoulder wishing peace for mankind. Involving joints and muscles are described in the Table 4.


It can be seen from the above discussion that Salaat prayer has psychological, musculoskeletal and cerebral effects on improving the muscular functions of geriatric, disabled and dementic patient in a rehabilitation program. The physiotherapist of the rehabilitation center who assists the patient to restore and preserve joint range of motion through mobilization techniques and exercise may take this prayer system as a model for restoring the residual strength of the patient. Elderly people and disabled person can gain significant health benefits with a mild to moderate amount of physical activity, like the performance of Salaat, preferably daily.

Salaat has special characteristics in that it is a short duration mild-to-moderate psychological, physical and brain activity. Scientific evidence also supports the notion that even moderate intensity activities, when performed daily, can have some long-term health benefits (American Heart Association). Salaat is like a free hand exercise. It can be performed in groups or individually without any equipment. Thus, a person in a rehabilitation program can practice the activity in their room with ease and comfort, even when sitting in a wheelchair or in bed. During the performance of Salaat, most of the muscles and joints of the body are involved. This activity is convenient for all kinds of patients, including children, the elderly and physically handicapped, for strengthening their muscles as well as the mind.


Above article downloaded from

It is important to mention the identity and qualifications of the author(s).

So here they are:
Mohammed Faruque Reza, MBBS; Yuji Urakami, MD; Yukio Mano, MD, PhD

From the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Hokkaido University
School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.
Address reprint requests and correspondence to Dr. Reza: Department
of Rehabilitation Medicine, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, N15
W7 Sapporo 060 -8638, Japan.
Accepted for publication 23 January 2002. Received 21 August 2001.

Annals of Saudi Medicine, Vol 22, Nos 3 -4, 2002




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