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Hatha Yoga Therapy Management of Urologic Disorders, Hatha Yoga (often referred to “yoga”) is an ancient type of physical and mental exercise
Hatha Yoga Therapy Management of Urologic Disorders
by Dr. Emmey A. Ripoll, MD and Dawn R. Mahowald, CYI authors of Cystitis: The Time to Heal with Yoga and Accupressure Abstract Hatha Yoga (often referred to "yoga") is an ancient type of physical and mental exercise that has been used as a therapeutic modality in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. Yoga as a complementary modality in western medicine is more recent and continues to grow. Chronic urologic disorders are often difficult to diagnose because their presentation mimic other medical conditions and are often a diagnosis of exclusion. Treatment is also frustrating because the more traditional treatments are often unsuccessful in managing chronic disorders. Health care practitioners are often forced to look elsewhere for other modalities to provide pain relief and improve quality of life. Hatha Yoga is one of these modalities which has been extremely useful to many patients in reducing the suffering seen with chronic urologic conditions such as: prostadynia, orchalgias, epididimalgias, vulvadynia, interstitial cystitis etc. Introduction Historically, many have incorrectly defined yoga as a tool used solely to benefit one’s spiritual, religious and psychological health. Cautious exploration over recent decades has brought to light the benefits yoga positions (asanas) and deep breathing (pranayama), when used as a light to moderate exercise program, have on those afflicted with chronic disorders. However, while one can safely claim that yoga is no longer seen as "quackery," the full beneficial effect yoga can have on those suffering from chronic disorders has yet to be accepted or fully explored. The psychological benefits of yoga have been documented in a recent study comparing two groups of females: one group practicing yoga, the other group remaining in a relaxed state of reading. Those practicing yoga were found to show higher scores on life satisfaction, and lower scores in excitability, aggressiveness, openness, emotionality and somatic complaints. There are also physiological benefits to patients using yoga as light to moderate exercise including increased aerobic capacity and increased muscle strength. In addition, with over 200 individual exercises with multiple variations, yoga is highly adaptable to the individual patient’s medical situation. It is starting to be used by medical professionals in very targeted recovery programs such as recovery from back surgery and as one part in comprehensive health management programs such as heart disease management programs by Dr. Dean Ornish (em, I know this is not quite right; all my references are packed away. Can you fix?). While not claiming that yoga should be an alternative to conventional medicine, yoga should be accepted as a tool that speeds the recovery of the patient by strengthening the physiology and psychological health of the afflicted. Hatha Yoga and Health Considering chronic disorders frequently causes the patient psychological/emotional pain stemming from an unnecessary sense of embarrassment, one must stress the analogous proof yoga has on correcting levels of stress.In our experience, asanas have been a great self-help method to teach patients. These techniques provide the patient with a sense of independence which is often lacking in those suffering from chronic disorders. Interestingly, recent studies have been conducted which demonstrate increased endorphin, and dopamine release in people practicing yoga. Changes in EEG patterns have also been observed, thus making yoga a useful modality for seizure control.