Clinicians Learn Medical Yoga and Meditation for Stress Reduction

Clinicians and medical students try a seated side stretch pose in a yoga class, as part of Northwell’s holistic course.

ROSLYN, NY – Yoga may be one of the most popular fitness trends in the country, but now, more and more, physicians are taking note of the physical and mental benefits meditation and medical yoga has in helping patients to reduce stress and risk factors for heart disease and other conditions.

Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that includes meditation, controlled breathing techniques and exercises, known as postures, for maintaining overall health and wellness.

Recently, Northwell Health’s Office of Continuing Medical Education hosted a holistic course that allowed healthcare practitioners to experience the benefits of yoga and mindfulness, combined with lectures and discussion of patient case studies. The day-long,  sold-out course, held at Roslyn’s Practice, Body, Mind, Soul studio, was led by Ina Stephens, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and pediatrics infectious diseases, at the University of Virginia, and a registered yoga instructor.  Dr. Stephens led a group of 45 clinicians and medical students, from a wide range of medical specialties through a series of exercises that not only calmed the mind but also refreshed the body.

According to estimates by the US Centers for Disease Control, stress accounts for about 75 percent of doctors’ visits.  In addition, the National Council on Compensation of Insurance reported up to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints such as headache, backache, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, migraines and others issues.

The workshop gave clinicians an introduction to a new model of personal self-care so they would be more comfortable in suggesting yoga and meditation to their patients as another way to decrease stress and improve health.

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