Applications of yoga in Parkinson's disease: a systematic literature review
Kaitlyn P Roland
Centre on Aging, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Background: Yoga may be applicable to persons with Parkinson's disease (PD). The adaptability of yoga to suit varying abilities is of significance to the PD population with its progressive mobility problems. The additional psychosocial benefits of yoga are important to the quality of life. This systematic review presents scientific evidence pertaining to the impact of yoga on physical function and psychological well-being in PD.
Methods: A literature search was conducted for randomized controlled trials (n=1), pretest–post-test design (n=3), and case studies (n=3) with the terms “yoga” and “Parkinson disease”. The study quality was assessed with a modified version of the Downs and Black Checklist and ranged from 8 to 16. The study outcomes included functional mobility (n=6), flexibility (n=4), balance (n=4), strength (n=4), depression (n=2), sleep (n=1), and quality of life (n=1).
Results: The preliminary data suggested that yoga resulted in modest improvements in functional mobility, balance, and lower-limb strength in persons with PD. This has implications for gait, postural stability, balance confidence, and functional declines related to inactivity. An improved upper- and lower-body flexibility following yoga in persons with PD is applicable to rigidity, shuffling gait, and flexed posture. The presented evidence also showed positive outcomes for mood and sleep, demonstrating yoga's benefit for self-efficacy and social support.
Conclusion: This review suggests that yoga provided an alternative method for addressing some of the reversible factors that impact motor function in PD, as well as contributing to an improved psychosocial well-being. However, limitations to the design of the studies necessitate further research to validate yoga as a therapy for PD.
Keywords: alternative therapy, adaptable, mobility, mood, quality of life, neurological disorders
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