I have a student with a DBS, an electronic brain stimulating device for Parkinsons. Any Advice?

I have a student with a DBS, an electronic brain stimulating device for Parkinsons. Any Advice?


I have a student with a DBS device, An electronic brain stimulating device for Parkinsons, and wanted to make sure I was not leading poses that might be dangerous for him. I can not find any resource on the internet about doing yoga or Tai Qi after the surgery. Do you have any advice?

Answer from Justine

I am so happy your student found you and Yoga! My student had a stimulator unit put in her lumbar spine for pain control, so a bit of a different situation. She has since had it removed due to needing an MRI and back surgery – but it sure helped her a lot!

Here is some info on the DBS device I found on the Mayo Clinic site – giving you some ideas as to what the surgery entailed and after effects: www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/deep-brain-stimulation/about/pac-20384562

You are so right about there not being a lot of information – I even googled DBS and movement limitations – nothing!! The main thing they are concerned about are not getting MRI’s or other electrical tests or working around high voltage. Oy! I’m sure they gave all those contraindications to your student. One thing I would suggest is to have your student ask their doctor about movement limitations and if there is anything that needs to be avoided.

From a Yoga therapy standpoint, here are some thoughts:

  • I would be cautious about balance, suggesting having a hand on the wall just in case.
  • I would also be careful about inversions – even a forward bend where the head goes below the heart. Main precaution would be to go into and out of a forward bend very slowly to avoid dizziness. If he happens to have a headache that day, I would avoid inversions and large movements.
  • If he gets nauseous, sitali inhale (through rolled tongue or pursed lips) would be helpful.
  • I would think hand/eye coordination would be very helpful – and Sherry sure gives a lot of ideas for that in her training! Also, left brain/right brain activity – such as a chair class pose extending right knee while raising left arm over head and alternating sides.

Inviting your student to dialog with you can be reassuring for him, and very educational for you. I always tell my students (as I pepper them with questions!) that I am asking so I can better help them, and they can educate me to better help others as well 🙂 Truly, our students are our best teachers.

Do feel free to reach out any time, I am happy to help as best I can…..and, I can learn from you and your student as well!

Much love to you,