Context: There is a little evidence about the influence of yoga as a complementary therapy for postural balance and its influence on activities of daily living in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.
Objective: To evaluate the influence of a six-month yoga program on postural balance and subjective impact of postural balance impairment on activities of daily living in people with MS.
Design: Randomized controlled pilot study.
Setting: Protocol developed at the Adaptive Physical Activity Study Department, College of Physical Education, State University of Campinas, Brazil.
Subjects: A total of 12 (11 women) yoga naive people with MS randomly divided into two groups as follows: Control (C-waiting list, n = 6) and Yoga (Y-Yoga training, n = 6).
Interventions: Yoga group practiced postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation on weekly 60-min classes for a six-month period.
Main outcome measures: The following evaluations were performed at study entry (baseline), and after six months (six months): Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), and self-reported postural balance quality and influence of postural balance on activities of daily living.
Results: There was a significant improvement in BBS score from baseline to six months only in the Yoga group, especially in subjects with higher EDSS score, with increased quality of self-reported postural balance, and decreased influence of postural balance impairment on activities of daily living. In conclusion, a six-month yoga training is beneficial for people with MS, since it improves postural balance and decreases the influence of postural balance impairment on activities of daily living. A greater sample size is necessary to increase generalization, but it seems that yoga could be included as a feasible complementary therapy for people with MS.
Keywords: hatha yoga; meditation; multiple sclerosis; postural balance; pranayama.
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