yogaDr. Geula is pleased to announce partnership with yogaworks.  This collaboration is intended to provide the community with a valuable resource.  We integrate yoga as part of an overall multidisciplinary approach in selected patients.  Dr. Geula will work in concert with highly-trained and experienced  yoga instructors to ensure a safe and effective experience.  Before beginning a yoga practice, it is important that you have your pain evaluated by a physician to ensure that it’s not a sign of a more serious underlying condition.  Dr. Geula would be happy to discuss this option with his patients and determine if it is appropriate for their specific situation. We are excited about this relationship and look forward to serving the pain management needs of the community through this integrative approach!

Yoga And Pain Management

Yoga originated in ancient India several thousand years ago, and aspects of it can be seen in several Eastern religions, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism. Since yoga’s appearance in the United States near the turn of the twentieth century, its audience has grown steadily as more people are discovering the physical and mental benefits of the practice. Aside from mere flexibility, practicing yoga regularly can ease a muscle spasm, greatly reduce anxiety, increase longevity, aid in stress reduction and relieve pain.

Yoga first appeared in the United States in the 1890s, and according to a Princeton University research paper by David Gordon White, close to 16 million people practice yoga in the United States, and that figure continues to climb. Although Americans tend to view yoga as more of an exercise than a religious or spiritual practice, they still enjoy most of the same benefits.

The exact way that yoga reduces stress and helps alleviate pain is shrouded in mystery. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Scientists don’t know exactly how yoga works for good health. Some say it reduces stress like other mind-body therapies, and others believe that yoga causes the release of endorphins, natural painkillers and ‘feel good’ chemicals, from the brain.” This release of endorphins may explain why yoga has been shown to help those with clinical depression.

One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that it is only suitable for the young and flexible. This is simply not true. In fact, the yoga instructor for the Stanford Prevention Research Center, Kelly McGonigal, has both a 72-year-old man and a 68-year-old woman enrolled in her class. McGonigal is in the process of writing a book about the practice, and she strongly emphasizes that yoga is for everybody: “What I want people to know about yoga is that even if you are on a ventilator in bed you can do yoga,” McGonigal said.

Yoga can also alleviate pain from chronic symptoms. Most notably, the practice can relieve pain caused by both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Sufferers of chronic back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome may also see a reduction in their pain.

While yoga definitely helps treat an array of conditions and alleviates the symptoms thereof, it is important to remember that it does not cure any disease, so when it is used for medicinal purposes, it should be used only in conjunction with conventional medicine. Additionally, practicing yoga improperly can lead to injury, so it should be learned only from a qualified instructor.

There is a reason why yoga is still practiced thousands of years after it originated: It works. Whether people are merely looking for exercise or trying to treat conditions ranging from headaches to cancer, there is a form of yoga that can help. People do not need to be young or even flexible to start benefiting from yoga; they only need to be willing to get started.