UniSA will begin a new study into the benefits of yoga and meditation for the mental and physical healing of a person who has suffered a stroke.
Researchers at UniSA's School of Health Sciences, led by Dr Maarten Immink, will commence a study funded by the National Stroke Foundation in August, which will see a group of stroke recovery patients undertaking a 12 week yoga program.
"We are looking at the benefits of yoga and meditation first of all in their moods and quality of life. We also want to see if there is any improvement in physical function and if there is a link between mood improvement and physical improvement," Dr Immink said.
UniSA's School of Health Sciences is looking for people to be involved in the study who had a stroke at least nine months ago, have finished their rehabilitation but are still suffering from some loss of movement and independence.
"There was old thinking that said six months after a stroke you couldn't improve anymore but there is new research that suggests that isn't true," he said.
"Previous research has been either case studies or very small groups but this is the first ever randomised control trial of a yoga program for stroke."
Those involved in the study will undertake 12 weekly yoga classes and home practice. Movements have been specially developed to be modifiable for any individual's physical ability. The classes will not require lots of strength or flexibility. Volunteers "won't be standing on one leg for long periods or putting their legs over their head", said Dr Immink.
"It's about gentle movements which promote a relaxed state but also promote awareness of how that movement is taking place," he said.
"Essentially what we are doing with these individuals is trying to maximise the way that the body, emotions and the nervous system are all working together so that they can retrain the body."
To find out more about being involved in this important study contact Dr Maarten Immink on 8302 2675 or Dr Susan Hillier on 8302 2544.
Access to original item: http://www.unisa.edu.au/news/2009/090609A.asp