According to the preliminary results of a study that was conducted at Indiana University in America, stroke victims who participated in group yoga sessions reported a significant increase in confidence, motor function and balance.
47 people who had suffered a stroke in the 6 months prior to the study commencing were allocated into one of three study conditions; a group yoga session twice a week, the yoga sessions plus they had to listen to a recording of relaxation techniques three times a week. Finally, there was a control group, participants in this group did not participant in any yoga and had no extra care or rehabilitation.
A stroke is the rupturing of a blood vessel or artery or when these get blocked, there is a restricted flow of oxygenated blood to the brain. This subsequently leads to brain cell death. Often individuals who have suffered from a stroke subsequently have trouble speaking and partial paralysis down one side of their body. Additionally, they often suffer from memory loss and balance and motor skills are impaired.
It is normal practice that Stroke victims receive 6 to 12 months rehabilitation, up until this point it is believed that the brain is able to re-wire itself and learn how to speak, move and balance once more.
The results of the study found that yoga training significantly improved the stroke victim’s balance and motor skills. Additionally, the individuals themselves reported that their self-confidence and quality of life had significantly improved as a result of the group yoga sessions.
Despite the fact that the research was only conducted on a small sample size, the results are encouraging. Yoga could be a cost effective means of helping stroke victims regain their independence and avoid mental health problems such as stress, anxiety and depression.