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April 27, 2015
April 27, 2015
Yoga for Clients who have had a Stroke
A study conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) looked at the effects of regular yoga practice among 47 stroke survivors over an 8 week period of time. The subjects of this study had all had strokes roughly 6 months prior, and many were male veterans. They were still experiencing the many physical effects of a stroke, such as problems with balance and tremors. The major qualifier for this study was that patients were required to be able to stand on their own.
The patients of the study were divided into three groups. The control group received medical therapy without yogic intervention. The two test groups practiced yoga twice weekly, and one of these groups also listened to relaxation recordings on their own time thrice weekly. The results of this study showed that those patients who practiced yoga were able to regain a better sense of balance, as well as improved health overall. Even patients who had suffered partial paralysis were able to regain more movement.
A stroke occurs when there is a lack of oxygenated blood being supplied to a part of the brain. Yoga helps significantly decrease the risk of this happening again, as it improves circulation and respiration, allowing for more oxygenated blood to be pumped to the brain and body at a better rate. Many stroke survivors will suffer multiple after their first attack, but regular practice of yoga can prevent this.
Yoga is beneficial for more than simply preventing further attacks. As was proven with the subjects of the AHA's study, stroke patients who practice yoga during and after their recovery period have a better sense of balance and improved range of motion. This led to a decreased fear of falling, which is a high risk for stroke patients due to the problems with balance that they frequently suffer and is the main cause for further injury. The goal for stroke rehabilitation is mainly to improve balance and reduce the risk of falling, and yoga can successfully help with this.
Not all poses are ideal for stroke patients, and special attention should always be given to ensure safety for the students. The lotus pose can be a good one to start with, as can other sitting or reclining poses. Standing poses, such as the tree pose or warrior I and II poses, should not be attempted until the patient has regained more of their sense of balance.
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