Can Yoga and Meditation Impact the Progression of Alzheimer’s? 

Whether you yourself have taken a yoga class or you have friends and family who rave about the benefits of yoga and meditation, if you live in Southern California in 2021, you’ve probably heard of yoga. Though it’s origins are from India, yoga has definitely gained a strong foothold in the US. In fact, approximately 21 million adults in the US practice yoga! But does it have any impact on Alzheimer’s, dementia, or neurodegeneration? Let’s dive into the research below. 

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Senior Care in San Diego 

Thanks for joining us for our series on dementia and Alzheimer’s research. Perhaps you or a loved one was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Or maybe you are just wanting to do everything you can to preventatively boost your brain health. If you’re interested in exploring Alzheimer’s and dementia research, this series is for you! 

Evidence-based care is a huge priority for us at MesaView Senior Assisted Living in La Mesa (as well as at our sister sites, HarborView Senior Assisted Living and BayView Assisted Living) and we hope you will appreciate diving into the research with us! 

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Is Memory Enhancement Training or Yoga More Beneficial for Cognitive Performance? 

Memory enhancement training refers to a set of activities (eg: crossword puzzles, computer games, or memory exercises) that are designed to boost brain function. One study, though small with only 25 participants, took subjects aged 55 and older through two separate 12 week courses. 14 participants took a 1 hour yoga class every week and practiced a 20 minute meditation session daily. The remaining participants were taken through a 12 week memory enhancement course. Prior to the study, all subjects went through cognitive function assessments and had brain scans done. 

At the conclusion of the 12 weeks, all participants had improved scores in their cognitive function tests. Primarily, these scores indicated the subjects’ ability to remember lists of words and people’s names. The subjects who practiced yoga and meditation, however, had a greater ability to remember directions and locations (visual-spatial intelligence). When compared to the memory enhancement training group, the yoga group also saw greater improvement in their ability to cope with anxiety and depression. Most importantly, however, the yoga-mediation group were found to have brain connectivity improvements that were statistically significant. 

The researchers concluded that yoga and meditation might be an effective prevention or mitigation strategy for cognitive decline in older adults! 

Laughter Yoga Might be Beneficial for Alzheimer’s Affected Individuals

Memory loss is brutally painful both for the affected individual as well as their caregivers and loved one. People experiencing memory loss have varying levels of awareness of what’s happening to them, however, feelings of sadness, anger, and fear are often present. 

Laughter Yoga essentially involves a group gathering together to induce laughter. While the laughter might seem forced initially, participants often find that they are genuinely laughing by the end of the session. It’s been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. One case study of Alzheimer’s affected individuals who took part in laughter yoga showed that by the end of a class, a few participants who had lost the ability to clap were able to clap again. 

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Best Senior Assisted Living Community in San Diego 

We are committed to evidence-based care at MesaView Senior Assisted Living (as well as at our sister sites, BayView Senior Assisted Living in Point Loma and HarborView Assisted Living in San Diego) and being familiar with relevant research is an important part of the care we provide. 

We pride ourselves on our compassionate, individualized, and holistic model of care. To find out what sets us apart give us a call and schedule a COVID safe tour of our one-of-a-kind assisted living home in San Diego!