(Yoga gives us the tools to feel empowered and not become a “victim” of our disease process.) We can help your team to write a protocol for disease management. Gems Of Yoga can design and manage yoga/stress management classes for employees and patients throughout the entire health system.
Gems Of Yoga would like to invite the doctors to experience a yoga session so that they may safely recommend the yoga center to their patients. Please send us a request for a complimentary yoga session at the studio stating the hospital, your speciality, day of yoga class booking and time that you would like to book.
- You are a 500-hr registered yoga teacher, which suggests to me you know that yoga works. Is that enough for yoga to gain a foothold in health care service delivery?
That’s a loaded question! Let’s look at it two ways: 500 hours would give someone with a passion for yoga an opportunity to have the personal, anecdotal experience of it. It would not necessarily give that person the background to be able to collaborate with the administration and with clinical practitioners. It takes more than just someone knowing that yoga works. The yoga teacher has to have an understanding from the medical side as well. Also, the protocols have to be accepted from the top down. The science supports our work, but the hospital administration has to be open and willing to implement yoga in a clinical setting.
Our primary role as yoga therapists can focus on stress and pain management. The mind-body connection at the clinical level is our first tier of work. Relieving stress, anxiety, and offering patients easy and effective tools to better handle their pain will enhance the patient experience and potentially lower the need for narcotics.
Can you give example of some clinic who are using Yoga therapy protocols in clinical setting ?
Here are some of the studies Cleveland Clinic is involved in right now or in the near future: 1) They are measuring how to mitigate pain and anxiety in pre- and post- liver transplant patients. 2) With a yoga protocol, they are determining if they are able to positively affect stress levels of Phase II cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation patients. 3) In March, they began a study looking at how yoga affects walking and gait in MS patients. Finally, and just as importantly, they are working with nurses to see if an online stress-reduction program can affect their levels of perceived stress. So, as you can see, they are really working from the level of stress management here at Cleveland Clinic.
What do you see as outcomes? Why is measurement of outcomes so critical?
If a patient is willing, there are significant benefits. By teaching them to be mindful of the present moment, they are empowered to handle their stress/pain. Their hospital experience will be better, they will learn to relieve stress and pain, and in turn will have a better experience for their own well-being.
Clinical evidence is what speaks the loudest in Western medicine. This evidence is critical to gain more support to expand programs and to duplicate those efforts elsewhere. When we are able to show that the protocols work, this sets the stage for more funding and more options for patients.
Is there a return-on-yoga-investment with respect to health care costs?
We are working on measuring that, but there is a long turnaround time. When we teach a patient to empower themselves with tools to relieve pain and anxiety, we hope that leads to a reduction in pain pills and re-admissions. This will certainly reduce costs. Our goal is to help patients help themselves but it will take time to measure the return on investment. A patient can feel better immediately after we work with them, but we have to teach them how to incorporate the tools into their daily lives.
What are some of your ideas about or hopes for the future of yoga in health care service delivery in UAE in the next decade?
This is a very real prospect! My hope would be to use yoga tools and tenets in every aspect of a clinical setting: from a primary care visit where yoga tools are first offered, through pre- and post-surgery, during chemo treatments for example, and sending the patient home with new skills for relieving their own pain and stress after any treatment. Yoga could literally become part of the care path. The term “yoga” is a broad one, and it doesn’t mean to just stand on your head. We need to get the message out that it’s a mind-body practice. It can be done in bed by someone who’s just had a heart or liver transplant, or had out-patient surgery. It is for all people at any time.
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