Service & Healthcare Providers
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As a service or healthcare provider, implementing yoga into your practice and incorporating it as an adjunct to your patients’ current treatment can benefit both you and your patient. Yoga alone should not be considered as a substitute for appropriate medication, however, introduction of yogic practices as an additional therapy will help relieve chronic stress and prevent further progression of their condition. Patients that have a hard time implementing physical activity in their daily lives can opt for yoga as an alternative to conventional exercises.
Scientific Evidence for Benefits of Yoga through Neuroplasticity
- Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change. Up until about 15 years ago it was thought that the brain was “hard-wired” by the age of five or six
- Similar to muscles, regions of your brain become larger and stronger the more they are used, and unused regions become weaker and die off
- The mechanism of neuroplasticity involves processes such as axonal sprouting in which damaged neurons whose links are reconnected with undamaged axons that grow new nerve endings
- There have been multiple studies conducted linking yoga with health benefits including, but not limited to, improvement of depressive and anxious states, neuroprotective effects and improved concentration through neuroplasticity.
Examples of Yoga Application in Healthcare:
- There are currently districts in India where yoga is even being implemented as a preventative therapy for youth. For example yoga instruction is implemented by the Block Primary Health Center as a part of the National Rural Health Mission
- Health officials in Spain have applied the concept of yoga as an adjunct therapy for those in a public health center with hypertension.
- Even with a small sample size they found that yoga in addition to prescribed medicines, significantly decreases blood pressure and heart rate to healthy ranges
What you can do as a health care provider:
- Critically consider yoga as an adjunctive therapy for those who are at risk or are facing non-communicable diseases.
- Yoga has variable support for many diseases. The most reliable way to know if yoga therapy will work in your practice for specific diseases and health problems is to look at primary research.
- There are a variety of open sourced articles we recommend looking at and assessing for yourself: https://tinyurl.com/yogahealthconditions
Special thanks to Medical Sciences at Western University for research and content towards the mental and physical health benefits of yoga and mindfulness: Carina Chan, Wenna Deng, Peter Greve, Dhruv Jasani and Sonia Sadr.
1 Huang, F., Chien, D., & Chung, U. (2013). Effects of Hatha Yoga on Stress in Middle-Aged Women. Journal of Nursing Research, 21(1), 59-66.
2 Bhatia, Triptish, Sati Mazumdar, Joel Wood, Fanyin He, Raquel E. Gur, Ruben C. Gur, Vishwajit L. Nimgaonkar, and Smita N. Deshpande. "A randomised controlled trial of adjunctive yoga and adjunctive physical exercise training for cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia." Acta Neuropsychiatrica29, no. 02 (2016): 102-14.
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7 Garland, E. L., Boettiger, C. A., & Howard, M. O. (2011). Targeting Cognitive-Affective Risk Mechanisms in Stress-Precipitated Alcohol Dependence: An Integrated, Biopsychosocial Model of Automaticity, Allostasis, and Addiction. Medical Hypotheses, 76(5), 745–754.
8 Vedamurthachar, A., N. Janakiramaiah, J. Hegde, T. Shetty, D. Subbakrishna, S. Sureshbabu, and B. Gangadhar. "Antidepressant efficacy and hormonal effects of Sudarshana Kriya Yoga (SKY) in alcohol dependent individuals." Journal of Affective Disorders 94, no. 1-3 (2006): 249-53.
9 Reddy, Shivani, Alexandra M. Dick, Megan R. Gerber, and Karen Mitchell. "The Effect of a Yoga Intervention on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Risk in Veteran and Civilian Women with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine20, no. 10 (2014): 750-56.
10 Zhuang, Shu-Mei, Shi-Hui An, and Yue Zhao. "Yoga Effects on Mood and Quality of Life in Chinese Women Undergoing Heroin Detoxification." Nursing Research62, no. 4 (2013): 260-68.
11 Pittenger, C., & Duman, R. S. (2007). Stress, Depression, and Neuroplasticity: A Convergence of Mechanisms. Neuropsychopharmacology, 33(1), 88-109.
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