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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 357108, 9 pages
Review Article

Yoga and Mindfulness as Therapeutic Interventions for Stroke Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review

1NMR Surgical Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Division of Burns, Massachusetts General Hospital and Shriners Burn Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA
2Radiology, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA

Received 28 March 2013; Accepted 8 May 2013

Academic Editor: Marc Cohen

Copyright © 2013 Asimina Lazaridou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aim. This paper reports a systematic review and critical appraisal of the evidence on the effectiveness of behavioral therapies such as yoga and mindfulness practices for stroke rehabilitation. Background. The experience of stroke can have a negative impact on both psychological and physical health and on quality of life. Yoga and relevant practices are promising therapies that have been used with patients with a variety of conditions. In order to draw conclusions on effectiveness for stroke patients, the evidence requires systematic assessment. Methods. A comprehensive search of major biomedical and complementary medicine databases was conducted. Relevant research was categorized by study type and appraised according to study design. Results. Five randomized controlled clinical trials and four single case studies were found. Additionally, one qualitative research study was identified. Studies reported positive results, including improvements in cognition, mood, and balance and reductions in stress. Modifications to different yoga practices make comparison between studies difficult, and a lack of controlled studies precludes any firm conclusions on efficacy. Conclusion. Yoga and mindfulness could be clinically valuable self-administered intervention options for stroke rehabilitation. Further research is needed to evaluate these specific practices and their suitability in stroke rehabilitation.