New study finds yoga may help stroke patients

New study finds yoga may help stroke patientsA group of researchers based at Indiana University in the US have found that the ancient art of yoga could help to improve balance in individuals who have experienced a stroke but are not receiving rehabilitative care.

The pilot study was aimed at establishing the benefits of yoga among individuals who had previously suffered a chronic stroke at least six months prior to the start of the study.

Head of research Doctor Arlene Schmid said that for individuals who had suffered a stroke, a yoga group or a similar therapy could provide a cost effective solution for improving motor function and balance, delivered in a group environment.

The yoga classes delivered in the test were all taken by registered yoga therapists, and involved a combination of yoga postures, relaxation techniques and meditation – with classes becoming more advanced as each week passed.

When the patients from the yoga therapy group were then compared against a group of stroke sufferers who had not participated in any yoga classes, the researchers found that the first group saw a significant improvement in their balance.

Balance is a common issue among individuals who have suffered a stroke, statistically increasing the likelihood of falls and the chances of greater disability later on in life.

In addition, patients from the yoga group also reported a higher sense of general overall wellbeing.

Dr Schmid said: ‘For chronic stroke patients, even if they remain disabled, natural recovery and acute rehabilitation therapy typically ends after six months, or maybe a year.’

Whilst these findings are hugely positive, scientists now hope to conduct a larger scale investigation to cement their findings.

For further information about yoga, visit our Yoga Therapy information sheet. 

View and comment on the original BBC News article. 

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Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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