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 therapy is even being integrated into our modern healthcare system. So what is yoga and is it safe to use as a therapy?
Yoga is a system of health that was developed thousands of years ago that promotes using 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 modern world involve yoga postures, breathing methods, meditation, philosophy and principles.
Yoga therapy applies yoga principles and techniques to help people enhance health in a more individual way, taking into consideration the person’s unique imbalances and concerns. It is an emerging profession that is growing likely because of its effectiveness in delivering a holistic approach to healing with a focus on self-empowerment. Research shows that yoga is among the most effective complementary health practices and even people suffering with chronic low back pain are seeking out yoga to help (American College of Physicians/American Pain Society, 2007).
PhysioYoga is a type of rehabilitation therapy that combines both evidence-based Physiotherapy and 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 moves, and use specialized manual skills to assess, diagnose, and treat a variety of injuries, disease symptoms, and disabilities.
Is PhysioYoga safe? Yes, as long as the Physiotherapist (PT) has the proper training and credentials as a PT and as a yoga therapist. The knowledge and skills of a licensed healthcare 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 methods and physio exercises or techniques 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 to your physician.
A PhysioYoga session is patient-centered and patient-valued, and always starts with an extensive discussion to find out your unique needs, concerns and questions. The session may include a variety of yoga postures, mindful movement practices, breathing practices, meditations, awareness practices and lifestyle modification suggestions combined with physiotherapy manual techniques and exercises specifically designed to address your needs.
When your own home practice is practiced regularly and safely, the benefits can be numerous. Physically, it can improve muscular strength, flexibility, postural control, 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. There is an important role that PhysioYoga can play in helping you reduce and manage persistent (chronic) pain also. People living with a variety of conditions can benefit from PhysioYoga, such as: people with 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, urinary incontinence.
It is worthy to note the role PhysioYoga also plays in disease and injury prevention and health creation. PhysioYoga is meant to guide and support you on your rehabilitation journey, so you can be empowered and resilient in overall health and well being.
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**This article is not intended to act as medical advice, nor to diagnose or replace your current treatment. Please seek clearance and guidance from your licensed healthcare professional prior to participating in any of the tips, advice, practices or movements mentioned in this article.