Research Papers

Personalized Yoga Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis: Effect on Symptom Management and Quality of Life

Saraswathi Vasudevan, M.Sc., Shakuntala Devulapally, MBA, M.Sc., Kamala Chirravuri, M.A., Vidhubala Elangovan, Ph.D., Niraimathi Kesavan, Ph.D.


This study aimed to assess the feasibility of personalized yoga therapy intervention in a private setting and its effect on quality of life (QOL), sleep quality, and symptom relief among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). A single group pre- and post-experimental study was conducted among 10 members of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India between December 2017 and April 2018. At baseline and during follow-up, QOL, sleep quality, symptoms, and pain were assessed using the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, MS Symptom Checklist, and visual analogue scale, respectively. The intervention comprised 12 private customized yoga sessions of 1hour duration and three group sessions, all spread over 3 months. Patient feedback and direct observations by the yoga therapist were documented at each session. Ten patients (seven female, three male, age 31–52 years) were enrolled in the yoga intervention; seven completed 8–12 sessions, and three completed fewer than 5 sessions. Therapist-to-patient ratio was 1:2. All domains except sexual function showed clinically significant improvement in QOL scores. Statistically significant improvement was found in social function (p = 0.014) and change in health status (p = 0.029) scores after the intervention. Although there was improvement in pain and sleep quality, these changes were not statistically significant. Patients reported improvement in symptoms with practice of yoga alongside lifestyle changes. The study supports the feasibility of this 3-month yoga intervention for patients with MS. Studies with larger sample sizes are required to confirm our findings.

Vasudevan et. al. Int J Yoga Therapy 2021(31). doi:10.17761/2021-D-19-00037.

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Originally published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, a publication of the International Association of Yoga Therapists ( shared with permission. Courtesy: IJYT