Yoga Therapeutics in Physiotherapy:
Shelly guest lectures at the College of Medicine, School of Physiotherapy, on yoga therapeutics in the physiotherapy profession.
When I was invited to write a patient case report for the International Association of Yoga Therapists’ Spring 2016 special In Focus issue of Yoga Therapy Today magazine on Yoga Therapy in Pain Care, I was honoured, but knew it would be challenging to include all aspects and details of an individual’s assessment, planning, treatment, and outcomes within a word count limit.
I have been working with people suffering from persistent (chronic) pain for over over 18 years, using a combination of my skills, knowledge and experience as a physical therapist and medical yoga therapist. I am pleased to share this concise and brief review of a case report in hopes that it gives the reader a sense of how and why therapeutic yoga in conjunction with physiotherapy can be a safe and effective approach to helping an individual who is suffering from persistent pain.
The article outlines the individual’s assessment (history, subjective interview, physical observations, goals), treatment plan and outcome. There are some specific examples of techniques and methods used, as well as the patient’s testimony in his own words.
I hope you find this valuable and worth sharing with health care professionals, colleagues, patients, family, friends, and anyone suffering from persistent pain. Part of my mission is to help healthcare professionals understand the profound efficacy and value that yoga has to offer when combined with rehabilitation in an evidence informed manner.
Enjoy the article and please feel free to comment below with any questions or comments that you think would serve or add to the reader’s experience! Access to the article is below:
This entire Spring 2016 YTT issue focuses on pain rehabilitation through yoga therapy. Contributors to this issue include a variety of yoga therapists and healthcare professionals that have studied and teach about pain, pain science and that have trained and worked with people suffering from persistent pain for decades. It is a solid issue that explores a variety of options (and consequently, offers HOPE) for people in pain. You can access the full issue HERE
Other resources related to this topic:
“Neil Pearson: Blending Optimism + Scientific Research” by Sunlight in Winter
“Yoga for Pain” Blissology Talks interview
Yoga for Ankylosing Spondylitis
Shelly Prosko, PT, PYT, CPI
I recently had a physical therapist colleague ask me for advice about some ‘yoga poses’ that may help her client who has ankylosing spondylitis (AS). I explained that there are certainly some poses I would share with her that could potentially address some of the ‘general’ commonalities of the symptoms of AS and how people with AS may present in similar ways, but I also explained I thought it was important for her and her client to understand that:
1) therapeutic yoga is so much more than prescribing ‘poses’ for a particular dysfunction or special population
2) the statement, “yoga for ankylosing spondylitis” (or any diagnosis) tends to suggest (in my opinion) that we are using a reductionist approach and falling into the trap of treating/addressing a diagnosis instead of a person who is a living, breathing, moving, thinking, feeling and reacting being that is connected to and affected by the surrounding environment. A being that consists of complex systems and layers: each one influencing the other; including the nervous systems, digestive system, musculoskeletal system, hormonal system, immune system, integumentary system, emotional, social and spiritual layers, just to name a few.
That being said, there are certainly some common physiotherapy exercises + yoga methods that can be used for people looking to optimize spinal and rib mobility and alignment, maximize breath pattern, improve pain management, and/or calm the nervous system. But I suppose that would be a really long title for this article. Read more
As a Physical Therapist and Professional Yoga Therapist for over 16 years, I am aware of the benefits and use of integrating therapeutic yoga into physiotherapy and some of the limitations of our current healthcare system. However, after sustaining a traumatic orthopedic injury myself, I had the opportunity to be a patient and experience first hand what it was like to go through our health care system.
Even though I was discharged from the ER and told that rehabilitation wouldn’t start for another 2 months, I knew that there were many aspects of my recovery that could still be addressed to optimize healing. I knew I could, and would, immediately start my own form of rehab and use yoga as my therapy….naturally including and using the knowledge, skills and experience I had as a physical therapist as well.
The first few weeks of ANY injury is so important for healing. All of our physiological systems must be given the opportunity and the right environment to function optimally in order to heal to our highest potential. In orthopedic rehab we focus on the physical layer (kosha). However, the other 4 layers (koshas) of our existence are equally important in the acute stages of an ortho injury (mental, emotional, energetic, spiritual). This biopsychosocial-spiritual approach to all divisions of therapy is essential if we want to treat the whole person instead of the diagnosis.
I felt a responsibility to share this message while recovering from my own injury, as this is part of my life mission: to integrate yoga therapy into our western healthcare system by inspiring, empowering and educating people through wisdom, love, truth and joy.
I had the honour of giving a TEDx talk about “Pushing the Boundaries in Physical Therapy” where I share my story and outline how and why I successfully integrated therapeutic yoga as part of my rehabilitation. There is a 5 min guided body scan meditation that I shared with the audience at the end; so you can enjoy that as well HERE
I started a YouTube Channel that follows my progress using yoga as therapy (in combination with Physical Therapy in the later stages) in the rehabilitation of my Achilles Tendon Rupture on Dec.22, 2013.
I also wrote a short blogpost in “Yoga for Healthy Aging” BlogSpot about the injury and how I used yoga in the acute stages of recovery: “Sudden Acute Traumatic Injury”
Below is a summary of videos from day 7 to 8 months post rupture with free links to the video practices. My intention is to shed light on what ‘rehabilitation’ can optimally look like using a PhysioYoga approach of integrating yoga safely and effectively into physiotherapy practice.
I hope this helps to increase awareness to health care professionals and patients, and helps those recovering from any injury to feel inspired and empowered.
Please share with anyone you think may benefit: