Yoga along with aquatic exercises can have a positive influence on certain symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) like fatigue, depression and paresthesia, a significant study has found.
The findings showed that these symptoms significantly improved after an eight-week programme of yoga and aquatic exercise.
MS is a chronic progressive auto-immune disease in which the immune system attacks the nervous tissue, potentially resulting in movement disorders.
Other typical symptoms of MS include physical and mental fatigue as well as faintness, depression and paresthesia such as pins and needles, itchiness and numbness.
"Exercise training programmes should be considered in the future as possible complements to standard MS treatments," the researchers wrote in a paper published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
The team analysed 54 women with MS with an average age of 34 and were assigned to one of three groups: yoga, aquatic exercise or no exercise.
Before and after the trial, patients were asked to complete a questionnaire about their symptoms.
All patients continued with their existing treatment, including any medication taken to regulate the immune system.
The results revealed that in comparison to the control group, fatigue, depression and paresthesia were significantly reduced in patients who took part in a three-times weekly training programme.
In the non-exercising group, the likelihood of moderate to severe depression was 35-fold higher than in the groups who had done yoga or aquatic exercise.
Researchers from the Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences in Iran, the Psychiatric University Clinics and the University of Basel in Switzerland conducted the study.
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