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Yoga Helps Stroke Patients Regain Balance

June 9, 2011
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More good news from the medical community on the benefits of yoga: A study has shown that practicing yoga after a stroke may help rebuild balance and prevent falls among the elderly.

This is especially significant due to the fact that the risk of falling and breaking a hip increases significantly after a stroke, as well as with age.

In the small preliminary study, participants who attended an hour-long specialized post-stroke yoga class for eight weeks improved their balance by up to 34 percent, as well as experiencing a boost in self-confidence and a desire to stay more physically active. The post-stroke group was comprised of 20 veterans—19 men and 1 woman—with an average age of 66. The class included modified yoga poses that progressed from seated to standing over the course of the eight weeks.


“Everything was modified because we wanted them to be successful on day one,” researcher Arlene A. Schmid said in a news release. “Everyone could be successful at some level.”

By the end of the study, researchers found the participants’ balance had improved by 17% on the Berg Balance Scale and by 34% on the Fullerton Balance scale. In particular, the average score on the Berg Balance Scale improved from 40 to 47, which indicates they were no longer at high risk for a fall.

The study also shows that the stroke survivors experienced improvements in endurance and self-confidence in their ability to be physically active.

Researchers say the results are preliminary and further study with a larger group of participants is needed. The results suggest that specialized yoga classes for stroke survivors may provide significant benefits in reducing the risk of falls.

For more, see the full article at



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