Yoga isn’t just a hot exercise fad, doctors believe its soothing combination of breathing techniques and movements can help stroke victims regain balance and mobility.
Study shows yoga helps stroke victims
A recent study, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, shows patients who practiced yoga saw an improvement in their quality of life. Forty-seven patients, who suffered a stroke six months prior to starting yoga, were monitored for two months. Doctors say the results of the study are promising.
“I think that yoga was so beneficial because it is complex and includes the mind and the body, and helps to coordinate movements and breathing,” says Dr. Arlene Schmid, a rehabilitation research scientist at Roudebush Veterans Administration–Medical Center in Indianapolis. “Many of the [participants] stated they wished they had done this type of intervention while in the hospital or just earlier in their life. They were able to use the breathing and meditation to help decrease stress.”
By the end of the study the yoga patients had improved their balance on tests of standing, standing with their eyes closed, standing with their feet together and turning around 360 degrees, compared with patients in the control group. “What’s more, the yoga participants also reported being less afraid of falling, feeling more independent and enjoying better quality of life,” according to an article in Time.
Health benefits of Yoga
“Yoga is considered a mind-body type of complementary and alternative medicine practice. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety,” according to the Mayo Clinic website.
Yoga is associated with several other health benefits including, stress reduction, increased fitness, management of chronic health conditions, weight loss.
Those interested in learning yoga should do so with the help of a certified trainer to ensure the techniques are properly taught.