Yoga-Based Rehabilitation Improves Balance After Stroke

Significant improvements noted in balance, fear of falling with eight-week yoga-based rehab

THURSDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with chronic stroke, a yoga-based rehabilitation is associated with improvements in post-stroke variables, including balance and fear of falling, according to a study published online July 26 in Stroke.

Arlene A. Schmid, Ph.D., O.T.R., from the Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center in Indianapolis, and colleagues conducted a prospective, randomized, pilot study of yoga-based rehabilitation for individuals with chronic stroke. Thirty-seven participants had twice-weekly yoga sessions, taught by a registered yoga therapist, for eight weeks, which included seated, standing, and floor postures together with relaxation and meditation. The impact of yoga on balance, balance self-efficacy, fear of falling, and quality of life after stroke was assessed.

The researchers found that baseline and follow-up scores were not significantly different for the yoga group and the 10 wait-list controls. Using within-group comparisons, significant improvements were seen in balance and fear of falling for the yoga group.

"This pilot study demonstrates that a modified yoga intervention for people with chronic stroke is feasible and potentially of great benefit," the authors write. "The improvement in balance is statistically significant and clinically meaningful and is larger than previously reported in other post-stroke exercise trials."

A coauthor is a registered yoga therapist and owns Heartland Yoga-Therapy.

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