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- When you think about America’s troops, yoga is probably one of the last things that come to mind – but it’s actually gaining more and more popularity among military service members. As our veterans return from combat suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and other physical and mental conditions, Therapeutic Yoga has been shown to be successful in managing pain, reducing PTSD symptoms, and improving the overall quality of life.While all types of yoga have therapeutic benefits, Therapeutic Yoga is different than the classes you’ll find at your gym or local yoga studio. Also called Yoga Therapy Sessions, Therapeutic Yoga uses yoga practices and teaching specifically for the purposes of healing. Patients who are facing physical or mental health challenges work with yoga therapists to create a personalized program designed to reduce pain and promote well-being. Most Therapeutic Yoga programs incorporate:
The National Institutes of Health and the American Occupational Therapy Association endorse yoga as an evidence-based “Complimentary and Alternative-based Medical” treatment, and research studies increasingly support the results of yoga on a range of medical conditions. Since Therapeutic Yoga is tailored to the specific needs of the individual or group, it’s been used to help a wide range of patients. Groups with special needs, veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, and athletes recovering from sports-related injuries have all benefited from custom-designed yoga therapy sessions that bring about healing and restore balance to the mind, body, and soul.In recent years, Therapeutic yoga has been applied as a holistic stress management technique for helping participants recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a condition in which the "fight or flight" instinct and the surrounding fear that's triggered by a life-threatening situation lasts for weeks, months, or years after the event has occurred. Symptoms of PTSD can include everything from trouble breathing, tense muscles, and an elevated heart rate to chronic pain, erratic moods, and substance use disorders. Some people also relive the traumatic experience in flashbacks and nightmares. PTSD affects an estimated 7.7 million Americans and can be experienced by anyone who's gone through some form of trauma – from a natural disaster to a violent crime.Much of the attention surrounding PTSD is related to its impact on our military personnel, and for good reason; PTSD is estimated to affect:
- yoga postures
- hands-on techniques
- guided meditation
PTSD amongst military personnel is also associated with sexual assault and with traumatic brain injury that’s experienced either during combat or in training.Several studies have shown promising results using yoga to treat PTSD. Participants with PTSD who engaged in yoga for eight weeks saw significant improvement in symptoms like insomnia, resilience, stress, and anxiety. Additional proven benefits of yoga for soldiers with PTSD include:
- 10-20% of Desert Storm and Iraqi war veterans
- 11% of soldiers deployed in the war on Afghanistan
- 31% of Vietnam veterans
Therapeutic Yoga instructors are required to complete a 200-hour Yoga Teaching Training certification from a Yoga Alliance registered school, along with a significant number of hours in Foundations of Yoga Therapy and Yoga Therapy in Practice. Yoga therapists often have additional musculoskeletal knowledge or training in counseling and stay up-to-date on new trends or techniques through developmental workshops, research, and on-the-job practice.A yoga therapist will usually consult with a new patient’s doctor or healthcare team before the first session to get a full understanding of the patient’s diagnosis – along with any physical limitations that need to be considered in the yoga program. When the patient arrives, they’ll work with the Therapeutic Yoga instructor to establish goals and then create a customized plan to meet those goals.Strive’s yoga therapists generally offer 60-minute group or individual sessions that begin with recording pulse rates and measurements on the Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) – which asks each participant to rate their distress, fear, anxiety, or discomfort on a scale of 0 to 100. Therapeutic yoga instructors will then teach a variety of asanas, or poses, explaining the benefits of each and when to practice or avoid each pose. Participants will also learn:
- improved flexibility and balance
- increased blood flow
- reduced pain
- higher relaxation levels
- more balanced mental state
At the end of the session, pulse rates and SUDS measurements are re-recorded.All records and notes kept by Strive’s yoga therapists will be incorporated into regular reports to help you assess the participation, engagement, and results of your Therapeutic Yoga program. You’re able to make adjustments to your program at any time, and you can combine Therapeutic Yoga services with other Strive wellness programs – from Musculoskeletal Strengthening programs like Athletic Training and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists to Stress Management initiatives like Mindfulness Meditation classes.Strive has a nationwide network of certified professionals, so we'll coordinate your program in as many locations as you need. You’ll be assigned a single Project Manager who will be your designated contact for every aspect of your initiative – no matter how many components or locations you add. We’ll handle everything from staffing and liability coverage to enrollment and scheduling. We’ll also minimize administration and billing, providing one single source of invoices and paperwork.
- how and why to incorporate affirmations,
- what chakras are and what impact they have,
- how to manage physical and mental imbalances,
- and how meditation and prayer can provide additional therapeutic benefits.
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