Case Studies - Circulatory Conditions

How Yoga Practice Benefits its Practitioners with Circulatory Conditions.

Stroke survivors regain balance

Research demonstrates how yoga can help stroke survivors regain their balance and maintain their independence.

This article was first published on the Stroke Association Website www.stroke.org.uk/news/yoga-‘helps-stroke-patients-recover-balance’ 

According to a study by Indiana University in the U.S, performing yoga regularly can help people who have had a stroke regain their balance and stop them falling over and maintain their independence.

It found stroke survivors that were put on an eight-week yoga course went on to have better balance than those who were not. They also felt more able in their lives as a whole.

Dr Clare Walton, Stroke Association’s Research Communication Officer says; “Many stroke survivors have problems with balance which puts them at an increased risk of falling. We know that even the smallest amount of exercise can be an effective way to improve balance and this early research shows how yoga can also help.

“Stroke can be an extremely isolating condition and many stroke survivors are left with depression as a result.  Therefore, as well as helping with balance and movement problems, group activities such yoga can also help survivors reintegrate into society and get back to life.”

Indiana University, U.S stated:

“For chronic stroke patients, even if they remain disabled, natural recovery and acute rehabilitation therapy typically ends after six months, or maybe a year,” said Schmid, who is also an assistant professor of occupational therapy at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis and an investigator at the Regenstrief Institute.

Improvements after the six-month window can take longer to occur, she said, “but we know for a fact that the brain still can change. The problem is the healthcare system is not necessarily willing to pay for that change. The study demonstrated that with some assistance, even chronic stroke patients with significant paralysis on one side can manage to do modified yoga poses.”

Yoga may be more therapeutic than traditional exercise because the combination of postures, breathing and meditation may produce different effects than simple exercise, researchers said.

“However, stroke patients looking for such help might have a hard time finding qualified yoga therapists to work with,” Schmid said. “Some occupational and physical therapists are integrating yoga into their practice, even though there’s scant evidence at this point to support its effectiveness.”

You can read more about this research at http://newsroom.heart.org/news/yoga-may-help-stroke-survivors-236741

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