Yoga and Occupational Therapy for Stroke

Yoga for people at risk of falling following chronic stroke.

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Falls are commonly seen in people who have had a stroke and occur in 7% of people in the first week after their stroke. In the later phase after stroke, 55% to 73% of people experience a fall one year after their stroke. Not all falls are serious enough to require medical attention but even non-serious falls may lead to people developing a fear of falling. They are a factor for predicting future falls, which may restrict the person’s activities of daily living and therefore require careful attention.

In this study, the feasibility and benefits of the Merging Yoga and Occupational Therapy (MY-OT) intervention was explored for people who had experienced a stroke and were at risk of falling. People with chronic stroke were included in the study if they: had sustained a fall or had fear of falling, were able to stand, and hand impaired balance and were at risk for falls. Overall, the intervention was considered feasible, with balance improving by an average of 30%. Balance self-efficacy improved by 15%. Each of the five fall risk factor management scales improved.

Researchers concluded, from these results, that MY-OT is a potential intervention to improve multiple fall related outcomes for people with stroke. Therapists may consider these interventions for people with stroke, but additional research is clearly needed in this important area.

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS