Yoga Physical Therapy For Chronic Pain is a program designed for patients who have been suffering in pain for a long period of time. These are patients who have been through the revolving door: traditional physical therapy, chiropractor, surgery, pain clinic; yet find themselves with no relief and pain controlling their lives. The program may also benefit those who opt for a conservative yet holistic approach to treatment instead of surgery or traditional physical therapies.
The program uses the SKILL-BASED approach to treatment instead of the No Pain treatment model. Patients learn skills that will help them take control of their lives again and work around their pain. This is achieved by combining the principles of Yoga and Ayurveda to Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy provides the unique understanding of movement and how it is affected by structural and functional strengths and deficits. Yoga and Ayurveda provide the holistic mind-body-spirit dimension in this treatment approach.
The program consists of ten to twelve treatment sessions. Patients are seen twice a week for five to six weeks in one-on-one sessions that usually last for an hour. In each session, the patient will learn a new skill. Each skill is built one after the other. After six treatment sessions, the patient and therapist will be able to determine if the program is making a difference to the patients condition or not.
Most people have heard about Yoga but not of Ayurveda. Ayurveda (a-yur-veda) is a holistic system of medicine that is widely practiced in India. The word Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term meaning science of life. Ayu means life or daily living and Veda is knowing. Ayurveda believes that there are five basic elements: Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. These elements manifest in the human body as three basic principles known as Tridosha: Vata (Movement) for air and ether, Pitta (Fire) for fire and water, and Kapha (stability, earth) for water and earth. A person has his/her own balance of the three doshas, although one dosha usually is prominent. An imbalance in a dosha will produce symptoms that are related to that dosha and are different from symptoms of an imbalance in another dosha.
Applying the Principles of Tridosha to Physical Therapy
In yoga physical therapy, patients do not just do yoga. Yoga postures (asana) are individualized and adapted to the patient’s needs. A patient who comes with an excessive Vata, or Movement, will have a yoga postures that are grounding. Asanas will also be gentle and rhythmic. A patient who has excessive Pitta or Fire will have postures that are calming. Focus will be on stretching as a means to elevate or diminish the heating principle of this dosha. A patient who has excessive Kapha or Earth will have postures that are more invigorating. Focus will be on tone and stamina building to enhance the system.
Modified Ayurvedic body work will also be used when necessary to help achieve the balance needed by the patient.
Yoga Physical Therapy is reimbursable by private insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid.
Where and What to Do?
Yoga Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain is currently offered at Riverside Medical Center, fifth floor by a licensed Physical Therapist with specialized training in Yoga and Ayurveda. A prescription from your physician is needed to start treatment. No previous yoga experience needed.
For more information download our brochure: Yoga Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain.