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Yoga and Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disease that progresses gradually, impacting both, the brain and body. Almost 60,000 people in the United States alone are diagnosed with this disease every year. While most people diagnosed are over 50 years of age, there are also the 4% who the doctors diagnose with this condition before the age of 50.[1]

Parkinson’s disease is more common in men than in women, and even though there is no sure cure for it, there are many steps that you can take to reduce the symptoms associated with the disease.

According to renowned yoga Guru Dr. Asana Andiappan Tailor made yogic practices can definitely help patients suffering from Parkinson’s. First, controlling and then effectively releasing the symptoms of the disease, secondly, slowing the progression and possibly preventing the disease. Our brain has brain plasticity that is if we stimulate our brain through various poses, breathing and meditation techniques, it creates new neural pathways to take over the role of what it may have lost from a neurological disorder, like Parkinson´s disease.

Yoga is one of the most effective complementary treatments advised by many experts. Since body movement is significantly affected by the onset of this disease, Yoga can be extremely beneficial in treating some of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.

How Yoga Helps People Who have Parkinson’s Disease

Not only does Yoga help people who are suffering from Parkinson’s disease by improving their balance and flexibility, but it is also effective for a person’s emotional well-being. Some of the benefits associated with practicing Yoga for people who have Parkinson’s disease include:

1.     Strength

Your posture can improve greatly with practicing Yoga, and many people who have Parkinson’s disease experience an increase in strength in their lower-body region. Yoga, therefore, can be seen as a way to gain muscular strength.

2.     Flexibility

With the help of Yoga, patients can improve their range of motion significantly. Also, by experiencing a positive change in posture, you can have better spinal and shoulder flexibility. Both, flexibility and strength combine to produce mobility.

3.     Balance

Problems maintaining balance and constant fear of falling are common in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Luckily, many Yoga poses can be tremendously helpful in improving overall balance of a person.

4.     Memory, Stress, and Sleep

Apart from all the physical benefits of Yoga, some benefits result in improving the quality of life. Many people who have Parkinson’s Disease have reported feeling reduced stress and anxiety levels after starting Yoga. Moreover, many positive changes take place in their cognitive abilities and sleep patterns once they start practicing Yoga.

Studies Conducted

There are studies where researchers aimed to find out whether or not there was a relationship between Yoga and reduced symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

  • A study conducted on 13 people suffering from stages 1 and 2 of Parkinson’s disease revealed encouraging results. Researchers observed that after 24 sessions of yoga over a period of 12 weeks, the participants reported significant improvement in body weight problems, blood pressure, depression, and forced vital capacity (FVC). (Sharma et al., 2015)
  • Another study conducted on 13 individuals was published in Yoga and Physical Therapy in 2012 by a group of researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center. According to the results of this study, all the participants experienced improved scores in balance, motor function, the range of motion, strength, and flexibility.[2]

Conclusion

Yoga can be a complete healing experience that not only brings about psychological benefits but also helps one achieve physical benefits. For people who have Parkinson’s, Yoga can serve as a hope to live a better life.

[1]http://parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Causes-and-Statistics/Statistics

[2]https://www.doyouyoga.com/how-yoga-can-help-parkinsons-disease-patients/

 

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