By Tamara PassutSeptember 14, 2018
While yoga may seem like just a physical activity, many Army medical professionals believe the physical motions can translate into control of the mind as well when practiced regularly within the right context.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Lisa Andreucci and her coworkers in the U.S. Army Health Clinic, Vicenza Behavioral Health Department facilitate a Medical Yoga program for active duty Soldiers, as well as other patients over the age of 18 with a referral from Behavioral Health or Primary Care.
"The class focuses on low intensity movement, breath work and mindfulness skills to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, mind-body integration as well as self-regulation both physically and mentally," said Andreucci. "Our Medical Yoga patients report improvements in their mood, energy, sleep, overall empowerment and confidence in self."
The behavioral health team at the USAHC, Vicenza say they appreciate this type of therapy for their patients. Medical Yoga is often used to compliment other traditional behavioral health therapies to manage anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In addition, the class can help with other medical issues as well.
"Many of our patients have said they notice a decrease in their pain," said Andreucci. "When patients can reduce their pain, they can apply more focus to other important areas of their lives."
The Medical Yoga program has been offered for five years at Caserma Ederle, demonstrating a continued patient demand and success.
"Therapeutic, medical yoga has helped me reconnect with my body and mind in a safe, non-judgmental space," said Christina Boland, a patient in the Medical Yoga class Aug. 28. "My yoga mat has become my magic carpet, taking me to a place of calm, allowing me to transform my feelings of anxiety, anger, and tension and helping transform me into a calmer version of myself. Through these classes I've learned that it's okay to back off and listen to my body when my limits are challenged, and I translate that to my life off the mat, learning to back off a little when my mind is overwhelmed."
When patients are referred to Medical Yoga, they will first go to an initial screening appointment to determine if the program is a good fit to help them meet their goals.
To protect patient privacy, more details about Medical Yoga dates, times and locations are provided to patients following their initial screening.
As each class is considered a group treatment medical appointment, Soldiers and unit leaders should ensure attendance just as they would for other medical appointments.