Introduction and objective
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological autoimmune disease. Different disease-modifying treatments exist; however, they do not control the neurodegenerative processes and often result in adverse events. Therefore, many people with multiple sclerosis turn to complementary or integrative health (CIH) practices. Yoga is one of the more popular CIH practices among people with multiple sclerosis, and evidence points to an association between yoga and improved body awareness.
The objective of this study was to investigate if a 12-week yoga course can improve body awareness in patients with multiple sclerosis as measured with the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) questionnaire.
Material and methods
In this non-controlled pilot study, 22 patients participated in a 12-week yoga course. They attended weekly classes with the instructor and were encouraged to practice the exercises at home twice weekly. Before and after the course, all participants filled in the MAIA questionnaire, which consists of the eight dimensions: Noticing, Not-distracting, Not-Worrying, Attention regulation, Emotional awareness, Self-regulation, Body-listening and Trusting. Changes in mean scores were estimated with two-tailed paired t-tests.
After the 12-week yoga course, participants’ total mean scores for body awareness improved significantly.
Significant improvements were detected within three of the eight subscales from the MAIA, Attention regulation, Emotional awareness and Trusting.
The results of this non-controlled pilot study suggest that yoga may have a positive effect on body awareness in patients with multiple sclerosis. Improvements were found in all sub-scales of body awareness although only improvements in three of the eight sub-scales were significant.
Materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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