Parkinson’s patients show improvements in mood and mobility when they participate in mindfulness yoga, according to Hong Kong researchers.

In a randomized clinical trial, adults with mild or moderate Parkinson’s symptoms participated in eight weeks of either mindfulness yoga or stretching and resistance training. The investigators, led by Jojo Kwok, Ph.D., sought to test whether yoga had superior benefits to conventional exercises for stress and symptom management.

Both programs helped to improve participants’ motor function and mobility, but those practicing mindfulness yoga reported additional benefits. Yoga reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression and increased the perception of spiritual well being and quality of life, Kwok wrote.

Participants were assessed at baseline, eight weeks and 20 weeks. Motor symptoms were measured using a standardized Parkinson’s rating scale; anxiety and depression were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; and spiritual well being was assessed as perceived hardship and equanimity.