Yoga and Stroke Patients
Yoga is more than a relaxation technique – it physically helps stroke patients after rehab, according to a new study.
Researchers tested the benefits of yoga for patients who had survived a stroke six months earlier. They found that group yoga improved balance. Stroke patients often have trouble with balance, leaving them more vulnerable to falls. Survivors who took yoga also showed greater independence and an improved quality of life.
The 47 participants in the study were divided into group who had twice-weekly yoga sessions plus three relaxation sessions; twice-weekly yoga sessions with no relaxation sessions; and no treatment at all. (Post-stroke rehab typically stops after six month to a year following the stroke, so the yoga classes represented another step in treatment.) The exercises became more difficult as the eight-week program continued.
The AHA said in a statement that “Yoga may be more therapeutic than traditional exercise because the combination of postures, breathing and meditation may produce different effects.”
But lead researcher, Arlene Schmid, Ph.D., O.T.R., a rehabilitation research scientist at Roudebush Veterans Administration-Medical Center and Indiana University, cautioned that it was essential for prospective students to find a qualified yoga therapist.