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Yoga For Parkinson's Disease
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Forum Posts: 138
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June 6, 2008 - 7:07 am
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Parkinson's disease affects motor and speech skills and is characterized by muscle rigidity and tremors. This degenerative disease is also chronic, meaning life long and progressively crippling.

People with Parkinson's disease appear stooped and move slowly as the disease progresses. Age is a factor, as is evidenced by a great deal of the older population showing symptoms. Their walk is often a shuffling gait with very short steps. The person has trouble lifting their feet. Arms don't move, or move little, when the person is walking. Range of movement is impaired and their hands shake. This palsy is the most telltale sign of Parkinson's.

Other symptoms that develop can be even more debilitating. Problems with speech, and swallowing, cause an inability to communicate. Fatigue and depression are present in nearly half of Parkinson's cases. Parkinson's disease affects distal muscles first (muscles farthest from the body, like hands and feet). As the disease progresses, proximal, or the muscles closer to the trunk of the body, become affected.

This disease often is attributed to having no cause. Some factors can play a role, such as head trauma, drug use, toxins, or genetic predisposition. While there are several pharmaceuticals on the market, some of them seem to become counter-productive, but there are new and encouraging development trials.

At present, there doesn't seem to be a break-through drug to stop the advancement of Parkinson's disease. However, physical activity and therapy can alleviate some symptoms. The more the body and mind are active, and work together, the more successful treatments are for patients. Yoga works to unify the mind, body, and spirit.

Yoga practice engages the mind and clarifies focus. In the process, the postures, breathing, and movement, stimulate the nervous system and improve health. Pharmaceuticals in conjunction with Yoga training, seem to be the best option for students with Parkinson's disease.

Yoga instructors, working with students that have Parkinson's disease, must respect the limitations and goals of these individuals. As with any number of physical and neurological ailments, the effective postures and routines will vary. As a general rule, asana practice might require modifications, props, extra support, or assisting for students with Parkinson's disease.

Balance is something that the unconscious mind controls for most people. A benefit of moving personal balance to the conscious mind is the result of more stability. In the mind of a person with Parkinson's, these unconscious functions have been damaged by the disease. Students with Parkinson's should focus primarily on bringing the functions of the body, to the forefront of the mind, during yoga practice.

The strength-building postures improve range of motion and balance, which is essential to effective yoga therapy. Despite the fact that movement is difficult, people with Parkinson's, are highly encouraged to participate in regular, gentle activities. Yoga is a perfect program because of its low impact nature and unifying, nurturing atmosphere. Students should be challenged in a comfortable way that allows for growth.

Yoga improves the overall sense of well-being, and worth, for the yoga student. Any chronic disease can wear you down emotionally. Many people, with Parkinson's disease, begin to feel helpless, as they lose independence. The highly positive and healing environment of the yoga classroom, adds to the physical benefits, but also encourages emotional balance.

Yoga postures recommended for people with Parkinson's disease, include the cow pose, cobra pose and camel pose. All poses can be modified to meet any student's needs. Also suggested are the boat, bow, and bridge poses.

The bow pose increases muscle strength in the back, upper legs, hips, and abdominal muscles - improving the center of balance. The camel pose also strengthens the back and increases flexibility of the spine - complementing the bow pose. Each of these poses strengthens the body, or stimulates the nervous system, in a way that will benefit a practitioner with Parkinson's.

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October 22, 2013 - 11:43 pm
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Can Yoga Help Patients With Parkinson's Disease?

Patients who have Parkinson's Disease are suffering from their nerves slowly deteriorating. This results in tremors in the extremities, and it can cause all kinds of problems with balance and strength. While there is no cure for Parkinson's Disease, there are a variety of suggested treatments for those who want to retain their balance and bolster their strength. One of those treatments is to go to yoga classes whose techniques are geared towards men and women suffering from this degenerative disease.

Can Yoga Really Help?

Yoga is meant to help strengthen and train muscles and flexibility. For those that have Parkinson's Disease, there has been a noted improvement in strength, balance and longevity when it comes to fighting the condition if the sufferers train certain poses and go through certain motions. The Tadasana Mountain Pose, the Uttansana Forward Bend, and the Savasana Corpse Pose are just a few examples of the poses used to help those who have Parkinson's Disease strengthen their body so they can better resist the effects of their condition. It isn't a cure by any stretch of the imagination, but it is one, useful tool to have in any sufferer's arsenal.

Preparation And The Cost

Yoga is an effective medicine, but like anything effective it's important to make sure that the patient can afford it, and is ready for it. For that reason it's important for those who have Parkinson's Disease to meet with their doctors and discuss yoga as an option before just signing up for a class. Someone that has treated a sufferer extensively will be able to tell whether or not that individual is ready for yoga classes, or if they would even help given the condition they happen to be in.

In addition to a consultation with a doctor, it's important for sufferers to make sure they don't just sign up for any old yoga class. While yoga as an art form can be a good exercise, it can just as easily be too much for those who have Parkinson's Disease. That's why it's a good idea to talk to the yoga instructors and see if there's a class available that is specifically for people suffering with this condition. If there is then everything, from the movements to the end results will be geared toward helping students stave off the effects of their conditions just a little bit longer than they would have.

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December 17, 2015 - 11:07 am
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Parkinson’s disease is defined as a nervous system disorder caused by degeneration of nerve cells in brain, responsible for controlling voluntary movements and also effects production of dopamine, a chemical present in brain cells. The commonly found symptoms include muscular rigidity, change in speech, gait and tremors whereas other non - motor symptoms experienced are depression, fatigue, dementia and cognitive mutilation.

This neurological disease is thought to be non curable although medications and alternative therapies may provide marked improvement in signs and symptoms. According to 2014 systematic review reported in Journal of Parkinsonism and Restless Legs Syndrome, the holistic therapy of yoga helps patients suffering from symptoms of Parkinson’s disorder physically and mentally. The researchers of Canada investigated around seven studies related to effectiveness of yoga exercises on patients suffering from this problem. They found that yoga approaches are very much beneficial for improving mobility, body balance, flexibility and strength. These exercises aids in decreasing extremity functions and fear of falling. Furthermore the therapy offers improvement in mental wellness like depression, mood and sleep. These researchers also concluded that regular practice of yoga is an effective alternative remedy for addressing factors affecting motor nerves functioning among Parkinson’s sufferer.

As per reported in another study conducted at University of Kansas Medical Center, researchers administered yoga intervention among 13 patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The patients should have practice one hour of Lyengar form of yoga including physical postures, controlled breathing techniques and meditation twice a week for 12 weeks. The findings stated that participants after completing 12 weeks time period showed significant improvement in their body balance, flexibility, strength, range of mobility, foot lifting and unloading. The Parkinson’s Research foundation (PRF) also stated that paranayama breathing techniques help in movements of pranic forces in body.

At present time special yoga sessions or classes are formulated and offered to these patients with modified versions, physical adjustments and by using supports like chair, blocks, straps and walls to reduce risk of injury or falling and anxiety. Slow and gentle restorative physical postures with correct breath control is suggested as perfect techniques for Parkinson’s sufferer, it is also important for them to take advise from related medical practitioner before starting practice of yoga exercises under the supervision of trained professional because Parkinson’s sufferer diminished their body strength, flexibility, control and balance. They should need special assistance and care during practice session. Some of the easy and simple classic yoga poses recommended for Parkinson’s sufferer are as follows,

Mountain pose or Tad asana: The asana is helpful in energizing body, encouraging good body balance and posture, suppress anxiety occurs due to reduced motor functions.

Standing forward fold or Uttanasana: This asana helps in elongating middle and lower back, stretches hamstring and calms body.

Warrior ll or Virabhadrasana ll: The posture is suggested as extremely beneficial for improving body balance, strengthening legs and boosting up self confidence.

Tree pose or Vrksasana: This yoga posture is helpful in developing body balance and awakens deep sense of acceptance.

Reclining Bound Angle Pose or Supta Baddha Konasana: This reclining posture supports in relieving stiffness from lower body and helps in combating fatigue.

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