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Yoga May Help Stroke Victims Regain Some Mobility
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Yoga May Help Stroke Victims Regain Some Mobility

A study being presented at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine reveals that roughly eight weeks of a specifically designed yoga program for stroke victims allowed them to regain some of their mobility as well as giving them other benefits as well. Other benefits include greater balance and flexibility as well as making their bodies stronger and more durable.

Arlene Schmid is a Rehabilitation Researcher at the Roudebush VA Medical Center and says that the yoga program has showed a lot of help with neuromuscular control in stroke patients. A second researcher, Tracy Dierks said that yoga helped stroke victims who were relearning to walk. After the yoga program, the patients could take longer steps and some were also able to walk slightly faster when they first started out. Dierks notes that they could not sustain that increased speed beyond the first few steps. Dierks is an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at Indiana University.

A third study using stroke victims and the modified yoga program by the University of Maryland Medical Center agreed that yoga was helpful in treating stroke victims especially those who were having problems with gait, balance and mobility.

But, stroke is not the only condition that can see benefits from using yoga. Research by the Walter Reed Army Medical Center showed that vets returning from Afghanistan and Iraq that were treated with yoga had less issues from post traumatic stress disorder than those who were not. Researchers estimates that twenty percent or more of those vets have PTSD, but the numbers might be much higher.

Another study found that yoga could be used to reduce the depressive symptoms in alcoholics. That study followed men after they completed a full week of a standardized rehab treatment. The men were then asked to follow two additional weeks of yoga while a control group did not. The men who did yoga had a seventy five percent reduction in depressive symptoms as well as lowered levels of two stress hormones, cortisol and corticotropin. The men who did not do yoga saw only a sixty percent reduction in depressive symptoms and had no reduction in the stress hormones.

Yoga has been suggested for a number of conditions, including weight loss, arthritis and general aches and pains. Practitioners credit yoga with keeping them younger, more supple and flexible and healthier than those who do other types of exercises. Additional studies are scheduled to look at yoga as treatment for other physical and mental disorders.


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