By Kimaya Singh
Yoga has a long list of health benefits, and practitioners regularly advocate the inclusion of yoga to help support the immune system, improve circulation, become healthier and have a better overall outlook on life. Research suggests that yoga may also benefit people who have Alzheimer's and decrease the impact of dementia. The role that yoga plays is both preventative and curative, and often it's possible to reduce the negative side effects associated with these neurological disorders.
Research on Yoga
Dementia comes in many forms, but one of the most prominent forms of dementia is Alzheimer's. It's also the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, so it's a disease that is worth taking a deeper look at. Studies are beginning to reveal that not only can memory loss be prevented with the right routine; it's also possible to reverse the effects of memory loss. The study, performed in a small trial in a join-venture with UCLA and Buck Institute, succeeded in using a 'systems approach' to memory disorders.
The study was small, and it only included 10 participants. However, they found what yoga teachers already know intuitively -- yoga improves mental function. In this study, 90 percent of the participants showed a significant reversal of memory loss. The reversal only took three to six months to show the effects, which means that the treatment is very promising.
The researchers used a 36-point therapeutic program. It required many changes to the participant’s lifestyles. They were required to eliminate all simple carbohydrates, gluten and processed foods. They ate more vegetables, fruits and non-farmed fish. They also upped their sleeping from five hours per night to seven or eight hours. Several supplements and other nutritional support items were introduced. And, they also instituted a fasting regimen of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast and at least three hours before going to sleep.
The yoga regimen required them to use beginning yoga twice a day along with meditation to reduce stress. More advanced patients may have been permitted to go into advanced yoga exercises. But, even with beginning yoga, the participants noted a profound change in their ability to remember key facts and figures. This system is similar to a British study that was also carried out, and the findings of the British study were notably similar. The British study also used a holistic approach that included yoga and healthy lifestyle changes.
Yoga and Its Effects
Instructors know that if you can get participants interested in yoga, the rest of their life will start to fall in place. As you become more in tune with your body and what it needs, you become less likely to neglect sleep. You become more aware of what you put into your body, and you're more attentive to your own requirements. The body starts craving healthier food that is needed to nourish and sustain yoga sessions. As a result, all of the body systems start functioning more efficiently.
Yoga is well documented to relieve stress, and this is a major issue for people who suffer from dementia. It's difficult to feel that your mental faculties are slipping away, and many people who suffer from dementia are aware that their minds just don't work in quite the same way as they used to. By incorporating yoga into their daily routines, it's possible to help instill a better sense of self-worth, encourages relaxation and makes patients better able to deal with the onset of dementia.