Yoga has become extremely popular and trendy in North America. More and more people are using yoga as a means to improve their health physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Yoga is even being used as a therapy in our western health care system.
So what is yoga and is it safe to use as a therapy?
Yoga is a system of health that was developed about 5,000 years ago that enables you to use your body, mind, breath and spirit as one unit, therefore enhancing and promoting an overall balanced lifestyle of health and wellness.
There are a wide variety of yoga styles, approaches and teachings. The most common yoga practices in our western world involve yoga postures, breathing methods, meditation, philosophy and principles.
Medical therapeutic yoga applies yoga principles and techniques to specific injuries, dysfunctions, or imbalances. It is an emerging profession that has grown because of its effectiveness in delivering a holistic approach to healing with a focus on self-empowerment.
Medical research shows that it is among the most effective complementary therapies in treating health problems, including chronic low back pain (American College of Physicians/American Pain Society, 2007).
Physio-yoga therapy is a type of rehabilitation therapy that combines both evidence-based physiotherapy and medical therapeutic yoga.
Physiotherapists use evidence-based treatment methods to help you restore and maintain optimal movement and function as well as provide education on health maintenance and injury prevention.
As licensed health care professionals, physiotherapists have extensive training and knowledge about how the body functions and use specialized manual skills to assess, diagnose and treat a variety of injuries, disease symptoms and disabilities.
Is physio-yoga therapy safe?
Yes, as long as the physiotherapist (PT) has the proper training and credentials as a PT and as a medical therapeutic yoga practitioner. The knowledge and skills of a licensed health care professional, such as a PT, ensures the individual assessments and treatments are safe and effective.
Not all yoga poses are safe or appropriate for everyone.
Yoga poses and physio exercises are modified to adapt to each individual’s need. Also, a PT is well trained to know when it is necessary to make a referral to a specialist or back to your physician.
A typical physio-yoga therapy session includes a variety of yoga postures, breathing practices, meditations and lifestyle modifications combined with physiotherapy manual techniques and exercises specifically designed to address your needs.
When practiced regularly and safely, the benefits are numerous.
Physically, yoga postures and breathing techniques can improve muscular strength, flexibility, postural alignment, body awareness, breathing patterns, bone strength, immune function, optimal body weight, sleep patterns, digestion, circulation and normalize blood pressure.
Mentally, it can improve your alertness, concentration, reduce stress and anxiety and improve your ability to relax.
Some common conditions that can be addressed are back/neck pain, musculoskeletal injuries (shoulders, hips, knees, etc.), osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, high blood pressure, irritable bowel disease, migraines/headaches, pregnancy, anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis, scoliosis and urinary incontinence.
It is worthy to note the role it plays in disease and injury prevention as well.
The key benefit is an overall state of health and well-being.
For more information on physio-yoga therapy, please visit www.physio-yogatherapy.com.
Shelly Prosko is offering a free talk about physio-yoga therapy at Sun City Physiotherapy in Winfield on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m. Please call the clinic to reserve your spot at 250-7662544. Bring all your questions you’ve ever had about yoga. Prosko is a registered physiotherapist and yoga therapist at Sun City Physiotherapy Winfield.