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Yoga for Dementia
Introduction – Can Yoga Help Dementia?
Yoga is a group of exercises that have been first practiced in ancient India. It has been originated more than three thousand years ago and is actual until today. Nowadays, there are several types of yoga. However, all of them are known to increase the overall health and well-being of those practicing it. 1
Moreover, today, scientists claim that yoga and meditation are beneficial for people having dementia and other types of cognitive and physical disorders.
Several studies resulted in yoga-related improvement of psychological and physical health. Yoga helped patients with dementia to improve their cognition and even resulted in pain relief. Also, people felt more empowered and calm after yoga exercises. 2
The Effect of Yoga on Mental Health
Even though yoga is a group of physical exercises, it has a positive impact on mental well-being. Moreover, initially, it was made for spiritual and psychophysiological purposes. 3 t
The positive impact of yoga on working memory has been established recently. 4 As we know, people with dementia are suffering from forgetfulness. So, yoga will help to delay the progression of one of the main symptoms of the disease. 5
Moreover, yoga will help to decrease their mood, reduce anxiety and improve their psychological status. 5
Today, yoga is a part of our health care as a cost-effective treatment alternative for the majority of psychiatric conditions. 3
The Effect of Yoga on Physical Health
It has been proved, that dementia affects an individual’s physical health. At the later stages, they may even be unable to perform simple every-day activities. 5
Fortunately, there are several ways to improve the physical health of your relative/ friend with dementia. One of them is yoga.
Scientists from the Florida Atlantic University proved the effectiveness of yoga in the improvement of the physical well-being of patients with dementia. This is the next advantage of this spiritual activity among patients with cognitive disorders.6
Yoga vs Other Exercise Activities
As mentioned before, nowadays, Yoga may be included in the treatment process of the majority of mental conditions. Moreover, sometimes it may even replace the treatment.
Some studies also prove that yoga has its benefits even among alternative treatment strategies such as music or other physical exercises. 3, 6
According to a study conducted at Florida Atlantic University, where individuals with dementia were divided into two interventional groups, namely yoga and music therapy, the benefits of yoga outweighed music therapy.
After 12 week intervention, those patients with dementia who were practicing chair yoga had better results in terms of overall health improvement than those who were on music therapy. 6
Yoga for Dementia Caregivers
Those who are taking care of dementia patients are at increased risk of psychological disorders. That is why you need to practice self-care in order to be able to help their beloved ones.
According to Wai Chi Chan et al., yoga is a perfect way to improve the psychological and physical health of caregivers. It is both, safe and cost-effective. Moreover, you may practice it together with the one you are taking care of. 7
The specialized book called “Yoga for Dementia” by Tania Plahay may be a very helpful tool for learning and practicing the needed exercises, tailored for the health condition of your beloved ones. You can find it in book stores or order on amazon.com.
Overall, yoga has all the privileges to be recognized
as one of the essential parts of dementia treatment. Moreover, it is a helpful
tool for your health as a caregiver. So, start practicing yoga today.
1. Yoga – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga#Goals. Accessed November 13, 2019.
2. Yoga, Meditation May Help Dementia Patients and Caregivers Alike – WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20140605/yoga-meditation-may-help-dementia-patients-and-caregivers-alike#1. Accessed November 13, 2019.
3. Khalsa SBS. Yoga for psychiatry and mental health: An ancient practice with modern relevance. Indian J Psychiatry. 2013;55(7).
4. A yoga program for cognitive enhancement. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0182366. Accessed November 13, 2019.
5. Dementia. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia. Accessed November 13, 2019.
6. Chair yoga more effective than music therapy in older adults with advanced dementia | EurekAlert! Science News. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-10/fau-cym100119.php. Accessed November 13, 2019.
7. A home-based exercise intervention for caregivers of persons with dementia: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial | Trials | Full Text. https://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13063-016-1582-z. Accessed November 13, 2019.