Yoga could help stroke patients to regain their balance, found a study by researchers from Indiana University in the United States. A group of yoga poses can improve balance in stroke survivors who no longer get any rehabilitative care. In a leading study researchers tested the potential benefits of yoga among forty-seven chronic stroke survivors.
All the study participants were divided into three groups such as twice–weekly yoga group for eight weeks, a yoga plus group, which met two times a week and a normal medical care group that did not get any rehabilitation. The yoga classes that including modified yoga postures, relaxation and meditation techniques were taught by a registered yoga therapist.
The yoga classes grew more challenging with each progressing week. Patients, who completed yoga or yoga-plus classes, significantly improved their balance. Survivors in the yoga groups also had improved scores for independence and quality of life and were less afraid of falling. Balance problems often last long for stroke sufferers and are related to greater disability and a higher risk of falls.
The researchers explained that yoga may be more remedial than traditional exercise because the combination of postures, breathing and meditation may produce diverse effects than simple exercise. Lead author Dr Arlene Schmid, a rehabilitation researcher, explained for people with chronic stroke, something like yoga in a group environment is cost effective and appears to improve motor function and balance.
The study demonstrated that with some help, even chronic stroke patients with significant paralysis on one side can manage to do modified yoga poses. Generally, for chronic stroke patients, even if they remain disabled, natural recovery and acute rehabilitation therapy typically ends after six months, or maybe a year. Improvements after the six-month window may take longer to happen, added Dr Schmid.
The study was published in the journal Stroke.