A Pilot Study of the Effects of an 8-Week Integrative Yoga Program on Function and Quality of Life in Persons with Moderate MS-Related Disability
Objectives: The first objective was to examine the feasibility of the integrative yoga program for a group of persons with MS. The second objective was to examine the effects of the program on function, activity and participation.
Methods: Fourteen women (ages 34-64, mean=53.5 years) with a confirmed diagnosis of MS, and a score of 3-6 (mean=4.67) on the Self-Report of MS Disease Severity completed the study. Data collection occurred at three time points: the week prior to beginning the program (week 0), the week following the program (week 9) and a follow-up session (week 16). The 8-week-long program consisted of two 1.5 hour classes each week that included yoga philosophy, breathing, postures, relaxation and meditation. The battery of tests included measures of physical and cognitive function, and quality of life. A series of repeated-measures ANOVAs were conducted to examine within-subjects differences between weeks 0, 9 and 16, with planned pairwise comparisons between time points.
Results: The integrative yoga program was feasible for use in this sample. Attendance was high, and classes were well-tolerated. Significant improvements (p<.05) were found between weeks 0 and 9 in the following tests: 25-Foot Timed Walk (25TWT), 9-Hole Peg Test-Dominant Hand (9HPT-D), 5-Times Sit-to-Stand (5STS), Multi-Directional Reach Test-Backward (MDRT-B), the 12-Item MS Walking Scale, Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, Mental Health Inventory (MHI), and in several subscales of the SF-36: Mental Component Summary, Social Functioning, Vitality, Role Emotional and Mental Health. Significant improvements from baseline (p<.05) persisted at week 16 in the 25TWT, 9HPT-D, 5STS, MDRT-B, and MHI.
Conclusions: This pilot trail found that the integrative yoga program specifically developed for persons with moderate MS-related disability was feasible and well-tolerated by the participants. The results of this pilot study must be interpreted with caution as there was no comparison group; however, improvements were found in a number of activity- and participation-level outcomes. These improvements were, in general, more persistent at the week 16 follow-up for outcomes that measured performance than for those that were self-reported.