Yoga Therapy for Parkinson's
Simply Yoga Therapy for Parkinson's
Yoga as a therapy for Parkinson's disease (PD) has positive effects on quality of life including reduction in tremor and rigidity, as well as management of depression and fatigue. Rather than viewing common effects of Parkinson's disease—slowed walking speed, reduced range of motion, freezing, speech difficulties—as obstacles which need to be 'fought' or 'crushed,' yoga therapy can help one regain a connection with a sometimes reluctant body through movement linked to breathing patterns, visualization of movement / actions and speech before moving or speaking, and improving balance and proprioception through awareness rather than rote exercises. Hand-eye coordination (visuomotor skills), techniques for rising from a low chair or from a fall, as well as direct implementation of practical skills may all comprise part of a customized yoga therapy session– acknowledging the challenges of Parkinson's while considering the person as a whole.
From experience, we find that in-home therapy sessions with calm, familiar surroundings result in fewer (if any) falls, and less dyskinesia caused by anxiety, stress, and fatigue. Parkinson's clients are at ease, not attempting to emulate others rather than listening to their own body, or challenging themselves beyond their safe boundaries.
NeuroSupportive Yoga Therapy™ and comprehensive therapy programs are provided in-home in Bloomington Indiana and are guided by an experienced C-IAYT yoga therapist specializing in neurological conditions and movement disorders such as Parkinson's.
Yoga Therapy for Early Onset Parkinson's
Early onset (young onset) Parkinson's is more common than most realize: symptoms are often ignored or missed and may be misdiagnosed due to age profiling or lack of definitive symptoms. Symptoms are less acute and progression of disease is markedly slower in early onset Parkinson's. Although these are certainly a more 'positive' aspect of early onset PD, the psychological and social ramifications can be such that they outweigh physical symptoms. Yoga therapy benefits the individual with Parkinson's as whole, providing a therapeutic intervention not only for physiological manifestations of Parkinson's disease but also those which may affect the person at a deeper level such as depression, anxiety, and apathy.
Yoga Therapy is not simply a physical exercise: It encourages positive lifestyle habits, changes in patterns which may cause issues both physically and mentally (think running for the doorbell or phone and falling, or trying to do three things at one time and freezing), and an awareness of what does and does not result in a good outcome (cause and effect). For someone with early onset Parkinson's, gaining and retaining a simple, straightforward means of self-care such as yoga therapy is a resource which can be used anywhere—standing, sitting, or lying down—and over the long-term.
Therapeutic Effects of Yoga for Parkinson's
A recent pilot study focusing on the therapeutic effects of yoga in people with Parkinson's disease showed that "Yoga appears to improve physiological and non-motor factors that can affect quality of life over a relatively short period of time for PD participants." Yoga participants reported more energy, less fatigue and visible tremor reduction following yoga, as well as improved overall mood (reflected in improved depression scores) and paying more attention to body signals. Some yoga participants reported being able to take medications less frequently as symptoms were reduced. During the study, UPDRS (Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale) scores improved significantly in the yoga class group.