Parkinson's disease gradually chips away at a person's physical abilities. The nervous disorder usually starts with uncontrollable shaking. Gradually, it begins slowing down a person's movements. Then stiff limbs and difficulty with balance and standing come in. All these debilitating symptoms greatly affect a person's health-related quality of life (HRQoL). HRQoL is a term that looks at the social, emotional, mental, and physical well-being of a person, with particular regard to how their health is affecting these aspects of their lives.
To combat their mobility and balance problems, many Parkinson's patients receive occupational therapy. Occupational therapy helps them perform daily activities with greater ease and satisfaction.
An interesting new study looked at providing both occupational therapy and yoga for Parkinson's patients. This study, published in the journal "Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice," sought to understand whether there were changes in the HRQoL for Parkinson's patients receiving this kind of blended therapy. While the researchers did not find any hard data showing a significant difference for patients before and after the program, in follow-up focus groups, researchers received positive feedback from the participants.
After receiving bi-weekly yoga and occupational therapy sessions for eight weeks, the 17 participants reported improvements in all areas of their HRQoL. Interestingly, many participants noted the social aspect of the group was valuable. Being with other people going through the same difficulties and doing a positive activity together was good for many of the participants' social and emotional health. Some participants reported that after the program, they noticed improved mobility, less pain, and an easier time participating in day-to-day activities. Others noted feeling less anxiety and more in-tune with their bodies.
While the data from this study does not show improvement, the fact that the subjects noticed improvement is notable. The study's authors hypothesize that although HRQoL didn't improve, the program helped it not decrease in those 8 weeks. The researchers acknowledge their small sample size and lack of a control group in this study and call for further research into combining occupational therapy and yoga to help Parkinson's patients.
If you're interested in helping improve people's well-being and quality of life, occupational therapy might be the career path for you. Contact us for more information about jobs available in this rewarding profession.
If you'd like to learn more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.
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