Introduction: Postural instability is a serious concern in patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders since it is expected to increase the risk of falls that may lead to fractures. The impact of yoga therapy on postural stability has not been investigated. Methods: In this eight-week single-blind randomized controlled study with an eight-week follow-up, outpatients with schizophrenia or related psychotic disorder (ICD-10) were randomly assigned to either yoga therapy or a control group. In the yoga therapy group, the subjects received weekly sessions of 60-minyoga therapy for eight weeks in addition to their ongoing treatment. In the control group, the subjects received a weekly regular day-care program. The assessments that were performed at the baseline and endpoint included the Clinical Stabilometric Platform (CSP), anteflexion in standing. Results: Forty-nine patients participated in this study (32 men; mean±SD age, 53.1±12.3 years): yoga therapy group (n=25) and control group (n=24). In the yoga group, significant improvements were observed in a total length of trunk motion, the Romberg ratio, and anteflexion in standing at week 8 (mean±SD: 63.9±40.7-53.4±26.2cm, 1.6±0.9-1.1±0.6, and-8.7±9.5 to-3.8±12.4cm, respectively) while there were no significant changes in the control group. However, those clinical gains returned to the baseline level at week 16. Conclusions: The results confirmed the beneficial effects of the yoga therapy on postural stability in patients with schizophrenia. However, the therapeutic effects seemed transient, which warrants further investigations on strategies to sustain the improvements.
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