With a growing body of research proving yoga’s healing benefits, it’s no wonder more doctors—including those with traditional Western training—are prescribing this ancient practice to their patients.
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. In 2003, there were just five yoga-therapy training programs in the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) database. Today, there are more than 130 worldwide, including 24 rigorous multi-year programs newly accredited by IAYT, with 20 more under review. According to a 2015 survey, most IAYT members work in hospital settings, while others work in outpatient clinics or physical therapy, oncology, or rehabilitation departments (and in private practice).
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.
“Researchers take blood samples before and after yoga practice to see which genes have been turned on and which were deactivated,” says Khalsa. “We’re also able to see which areas of the brain are changing in structure and size due to yoga and meditation.” This kind of research is helping take yoga into the realm of “real science,” he says, by showing how the practice changes psycho-physiological function.
It turns out, nobody really knows. The first study, a systematic review, summarizes the research to date on physician burnout. Study authors found that researchers do not use a consistent definition of burnout, and estimates of how common it is vary widely.
The second study followed doctors-in-training over six years and tracked how they felt about their work. They found that women and doctors in certain high-stress specialties were more likely to experience symptoms of burnout, like emotional exhaustion and regret about career choice.
Dr. Katherine Gold, coauthor of an editorial accompanying the JAMA studies. She says that the main questionnaire used to measure burnout wasn’t even designed for doctors. She says it’s intended for professionals like social workers and therapists, who have to cope with trauma their patients experience. My note: this is the merit of Kelsey Milne’s dissertation with SCSU EDAD program: how do we measure may be the key to the right assessment.
Burnout definition: How you define burnout is all over the map. Any time you have a diagnosis that might apply to 85 percent of the population, you wonder how useful that is. But burnout is much less stigmatized than depression. People are just more willing to say they’re burned out.People have resonated with the feeling that something isn’t right, and something is making our work really difficult. We’ve latched on to this as the word we’re going to use.
There’s talk about the solutions all being personal. The physician should be more resilient. The physician should do yoga. The physician should practice mindfulness. I think the stress that people are feeling is much more about external demands, like the electronic medical record and paperwork.
I know I feel frustrated when I get emails telling me that there’s lunchtime yoga, which of course I can’t make it to because I have too many patient charts to complete.My Note: this is part of Kelsey’s findings for educators also.