Yoga in The News!

Yoga is one of those things where people are often skeptical of its’ benefits. With increased popularity in the Western world, yoga has garnered more interest and research on its’ effects on various medical conditions. Here is an article that was just featured in MedPage Today discussing Yoga’s benefits for Stroke patients:

 

Yoga Steadies Stroke Victims

By Chris Kaiser, Cardiology Editor, MedPage Today

Published: July 26, 2012

Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

A yoga-based rehabilitation workout may help improve balance following stroke, a pilot randomized study found.

At 8 weeks, the yoga group showed significant progress in static and dynamic balance, as assessed by the 14-item Berg Balance Scale (mean score of 40 versus 47,P<0.001), reported Arlene A. Schmid, PhD, OTR, from the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, and colleagues.

In contrast, the controls who underwent usual rehab care had less improvement in balance (mean score of 41 versus 43, P=0.06), according to the study published online inStroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

A score of 46 or less indicates a risk of falling.

Studies have shown that yoga benefits those with chronic back pain, and helps cut the frequency of atrial fibrillation episodes.

An earlier study from researchers at Roudebush found that yoga led to improvements in functional strength, flexibility, and endurance in stroke patients.

Schmid and colleagues noted that the mind–body component of yoga is believed to offer practitioners a more therapeutic benefit than traditional exercise.

“Evidence suggests that the combination of postures, breathing, and meditation are most beneficial when utilized together and are considered to produce different effects than simple exercise,” they wrote.

To test yoga’s impact on balance, the researchers randomly assigned 37 patients to the yoga intervention and 10 to usual care. A total of 29 patients finished the 8-week, twice-a-week yoga intervention.

The yoga included seated, standing, and floor postures. The yoga postures became more challenging with time.

For example, patients began with breathing exercises, bilateral eye movements, finger movements and seated spine extensions. They then progressed to standing with or without support, knee bends while standing, and prolonged lunges. Finally, they undertook supine knee bends to the chest, posterior leg stretches, and supine back extensions.

Baseline characteristics were similar between the two groups. The mean age of patients was 63, two-thirds were white, and 80% were men. The mean time since stroke was about 4 years. More people in the yoga group, however, had a fear of falling at baseline compared with controls (60% versus 30%).

Besides the improvement in balance, the 29 patients who completed the 8 weeks of yoga showed more significant improvement towards independence (52% at baseline versus 66%, P<0.001) and had less of a fear of falling (60% versus 43%, P=0.002).

The researchers noted a trend toward significant improvement in self-reported balance efficacy as measured by the Balance Confidence Scale (61 versus 67, P=0.035) and quality of life indicators as measured by the 49-item Stroke-Specific QoL scale (33 versus 35, P=0.037).

Despite the study’s small size, Schmid and colleagues noted the “clinically meaningful” increase of a mean of more than 6 points in the Berg Balance Scale score. “[A]nd those who completed yoga crossed the threshold of balance impairment and fall risk by increasing the average score to greater than 46,” they added.

They said such improvements defy what’s in the literature for older adults and portend the opportunity for even greater improvements among this population.

The study was limited, however, because it was not blinded and was small with a low number of women. It also had some limitations to the assessment of disability and fear of falling.

 

link to full article on Medpage Today: (free login required – highly recommend subscribing – lots of great articles and info).

 

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2 thoughts on “Yoga in The News!

  1. yoga truly is amazing. I attribute my quick and steady recovery from my c-section to all my yoga practice- my core is so much stronger than it ever was before, plus I have strength all over. None of which I would have had from other exercise because I hate traditional exercise and never do it :) All my nurses in the hospital were SO amazed at how quickly I was able to get up and walk around. They see many CS patients and I was surprised that my recovery speed was not the usual. I am so excited to get back on my mat and feel alive physically again. Yay for Yoga!!!!

    • :) That is great to hear! Yoga and developing your core and pelvic floor definitely go hand in hand. It is truly amazing how strong your core, and your entire body, can become through yoga. Many people think that yoga is simply rest and relaxing, but it’s effort and is a great strength builder for your body. I will be talking more about core work soon and a specific workshop that I took with Kino Macgregor that was utterly amazing and changed the way I think about building your core. I think all women, especially after having a baby, should take some core work classes. Can’t wait to hear about your journey back on the mat after baby! :)

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