Researchers at Indiana University conducted a study that taught veterans who’d experienced a stroke yoga that produced promising results.
This pilot study involved 20 participants, 1 woman and 29 men, with an average age of 66 years. During the 8 week study, twice each week, they took part in a 1 hour yoga class, that was significantly altered to meet the veteran’s needs.
Their balance was measured using a standard scale (Berg Balance Scale and Fullerton Advance Balance Scale), and it improved by 17 percent and 34 percent respectively by the end of the study. Equally exciting to the study’s lead researcher Arlene Schmid, assistant professor of occupational therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis was the measurable gain in confidence the study participants had in their balance.
Dr. Schmid noted, “It also was interesting to see how much the men liked it. They enjoyed it so much partly because they weren’t getting any other treatment. They had already completed their rehabilitation but felt there still was room for improvement.”
The study participants performed yoga poses while seated in chairs and then progressed to standing and seated poses. By the end of the study, they all performed poses on the floor, an achievement Dr. Schmid characterized as significant because many senior citizens are reluctant about working on the floor.
The therapeutic use of yoga is really taking off, according to Dr. Schmid. She notes she has observed a small trend among occupational therapists and physical therapists receiving yoga therapy training.