Yoga helps stroke victim recovery

Wed, 18 Jul 2012

A pilot study conducted at Indiana University in America, has reported that group sessions have significantly improved the motor function and balance of stroke survivors who had finished their rehabilitation care.

The research examined the effect of an 8 week on 23 people who had suffered a stroke six months prior to the study. Their motor skills and balance was compared to 24 wait list control participants.

A occurs when a blood clot or ruptured artery or blood vessel restricts the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain leading to brain cell death. When an individual has a stroke, they are likely to have; impaired speech, restricted movement often marked by partial paralysis down one side of their bodies and suffer from memory loss.

The health care authorities offer rehabilitation support to survivors, often this isn’t for longer than 6-12 months as long term care is costly and it is understood there is only a limited amount of time after a stroke that an individual’s brain is able to recover and ‘rewire’ itself.

The participants that were assigned to the yoga course, which was designed to get progressively harder, reported a greater level of balance and motor function. Possibly more significant, was the fact that these individuals reported feeling more confident with less fear of falling compared to the non-yoga group. Additionally, they reported a greater general sense of happiness and contentment with their lives compared to individuals in the control group.

This research, although conducted on a small sample, suggests that may be a beneficial and cost effective means of rehabilitating stroke survivors after the incident. More long term research should now be conducted on a larger population to establish if there are any further long term benefits of teaching stroke victims’ yoga and specifically identifying the elements that generate the best outcome such as yoga group size and length of training.

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