“… restored my health,” taking this military vet from smoking, high BP, pre-diabetic to fit and active…”picture of health.”
We all are discovering there is so much more to healing than just taking a few pills for the pain and symptoms and maybe some limited moves in a physical therapy session. Western doctors are starting to learn and share other methods for managing illness or disease and it’s accompanying pain.
Here is a therapy method that has been used around other parts of the world for thousands of years and is finally taking hold in the United States. If you or a loved one is looking for another healing way other than experiencing prescription drug side effects or slim chance helpful surgery, consider the following type therapy.
Read through the following and share what you think or have experienced yourself.
…In a small workout room with a handful of other Navy veterans, David Rachford looked out the window … the soothing view eased the challenging exercise routine he was trying for the first time. It was just a simple twist, Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)—nothing like the rigorous daily training he’d done on aircraft carriers—but his legs refused to cooperate, due to the painful nerve damage and severe sciatica he’d suffered as a result of a career-ending
back injury. ….
“I thought yoga was for thin, bendy, liberal, hippie vegetarians and affluent housewives, not tough, macho ‘warrior’ types,” says the 44-year-old, … “But at that time, I felt pretty broken. I was in a lot of pain and open to anything that might help. I was depressed and scared at the prospect of surgery, and mourning the loss of my health and my self-image of being a physically fit ‘tough guy.’” Rachford also worried he wouldn’t be able to hold his own in a yoga class. “I couldn’t bend much or stand more than
a couple minutes without assistance,” …
A yoga therapist led Rachford and the rest
of the group through gentle stretching poses, urging them to repeat the simple movements at home daily. He did, and sure enough, over the next few months, Rachford noticed his range
of movement gradually increasing and his pain improving. “I became more aware of my breath, body, and sensations,” he says. “My yoga practice became the base that restored my health, taking me from smoking, having high blood pressure, and being overweight and pre-diabetic to being fit, active, and a picture of health. I’ve lost 50 pounds, my blood pressure is normal, and I can jog
and hike without pain.”
in a Modern Setting
In India, yoga masters have worked with students like Rachford for years, helping them heal chronic ailments, oftentimes by recommending specific postures. Here in the West, yoga has only recently become
a component of medical care. However,
a growing number of health care practitioners are turning to the ancient practice
as a way to help their patients feel better. Yoga therapy is now recognized as a clinically viable treatment, with established programs at major health care centers, such as The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, and many others. ….
The health care world’s increased acceptance of yoga therapy is partly due to a significant body of clinical research that now documents yoga’s proven benefits for a range of health conditions, including back pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, as well as its ability to help reduce
risk factors for cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Yoga has even been documented as a way to alleviate the side effects of cancer treatment.
“The size, quantity, and quality of clinical trials for yoga therapy are increasing exponentially, and it’s mostly happened over the past five years,” says longtime yoga researcher Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the Harvard Medical School Guide e-book Your Brain on Yoga. ….
The research on yoga as a helpful component of cancer treatment has expanded the most, says Khalsa. “These days, it’s hard to find a major US cancer center that does not have a yoga program,” he says. “Patients are demanding, and spending more on, complementary medicine like acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and yoga.”
What Is Yoga Therapy, Exactly?
For many yogis, simply practicing yoga regularly improves overall well-being and strength. However, fast-paced vinyasa classes are not for everyone, especially those suffering from a health challenge or injury. Yoga therapy serves as a safe alternative. Led by yoga teachers who’ve received additional training to work with clients with various health conditions, the styles and formats differ widely, ranging from chair yoga in hospitals and elder-care facilities to small, focused therapeutic classes and one-on-one sessions.
“In yoga therapy, we work on individuals, not conditions,” says McCall, a former internist who now trains yoga therapists … That’s because patients often have multiple, overlapping conditions, he says: “For instance, we may work on back pain, but the client also ends up sleeping better and becomes happier.” Some therapists focus on physical mechanics, while others bring in Ayurvedic healing principles and factor in diet, psychological health, and spirituality to create a holistic, customized plan.
…. Increasingly, yoga therapy is making inroads in conventional health care settings. At Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York City, Loren Fishman, MD, author of Healing Yoga: Proven Postures to Treat Twenty …, regularly uses yoga alongside traditional treatments to treat scoliosis, rotator cuff syndrome, and other neuromuscular problems. “Many physicians have come to appreciate the beneficial effects of yoga, says Fishman.”
Patients—even the most skeptical—
are experiencing the benefits of yoga therapy firsthand. When Stacey  was plagued by chronic insomnia, she made
an appointment with her family doctor, whom she hoped would prescribe sleeping pills. But after chatting with Stacey about stressors in her life, the doctor instead suggested she try yoga to see if it helped release tension and manage stress. “I was furious with her,” says Stacey. “I was exhausted and wanted something to help me now.” She agreed to try yoga for six weeks, but only with her doc’s promise to consider medication if the experiment failed. To Stacey’s great surprise, yoga did help her sleep—and she hasn’t requested those sleep meds. ….
The most powerful shift may be the one that happens within each of us—when we take responsibility for our own health, do our practice, and allow for transformation and healing to occur.
Rachford, the Navy vet, is now a trained yoga teacher and leads classes where he works. He also teaches community classes. “We tend to want immediate cures for pains or injuries, and Western medicine is very much geared toward prescriptions and surgery,” he says. “But yoga doesn’t work that way. As Sri K. Pattabhi Jois said, ‘Do your practice and all is coming.’ Yoga helps me deal with stress and has allowed me to release addictions and harmful behaviors. It has set me free from pain and suffering, which allows peace, joy, and health to be present in my life.”
How to find the right yoga therapist
… Do your research to see if yoga therapy will help to heal your specific condition, visit Yoga Alliance
to find study highlights for specific health conditions under Yoga Research.
…Explore local options: 1) Search the IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists ; 2) Check with your local YMCA or Community Centers for low intensity or beginner classes; 3) A yoga instructor or doctor may also be able to recommend a therapist; 4) If you don’t find someone near you, consider traveling to a nearby town, or even teach yourself at home with a Complete Yoga for Beginner’s DVD.
Many doctors still think of yoga as vigorous exercise that would be inappropriate for people with health challenges, so be prepared to do some educating…
One Posture At A Time!
Full Article at Yoga Journal
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