Blog | Monday, July 30, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Yoga may help balance in stroke survivors

Yoga may help patients improve their balance after stroke, according to a new pilot study.

Researchers performed a small randomized study of yoga-based rehab in patients who had suffered an acute stroke. Thirty-seven patients who did yoga were compared with a control group of 10 patients who were on a waiting list and receiving usual care. A registered yoga therapist taught the yoga sessions, which were held twice a week for eight weeks. The sessions involved relaxation and meditation, along with seated, standing and floor yoga postures.

Outcome measures were balance, balance self-efficacy, fear of falling and quality of life. The study results were published online July 26 by Stroke.

At eight weeks, no significant difference was noted between waiting-list controls and yoga patients in baseline or follow-up scores. However, in within-group comparisons, yoga patients had statistically significant improvement in both balance, assessed by the Berg Balance Scale, and fear of falling, assessed by using a "yes/no" question. The authors noted that their study was small and unblinded, but concluded that a yoga-based intervention could be helpful in patients recovering from stroke.

"The improvement in balance is statistically significant and clinically meaningful and is larger than previously reported in other poststroke exercise trials," they wrote. "Group yoga should be further studied as a possible feasible and effective intervention to improve balance, [quality of life], and participation poststroke."