Holistic medicine and remedies are everywhere you look these days. There’s always a new world fad in natural health and natural forms of therapy. However, despite the countless ways to practice more organic types of therapy, there’s one that is just outshining the rest—yoga.
Yoga has seen the biggest growth in popularity out of any other form of natural therapy. In fact, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that the number of Americans have doubled to nearly 21 million people. The number continues to grow even when supplements and other forms of organic therapies stay doesn’t plateaued.
Other natural therapies such as massage therapy, progressive relaxation, guided imagery, and acupuncture; have all seen declines in popularity over the past decade. However, yoga’s popularity continues to skyrocket.
Physical therapists have been recommending yoga for years, but now we are seeing steady increases of people actually partaking. 9.5% of Americans now use yoga. The increase in percentage has grown from it’s 5.1% back in 2002. Yoga is the most used body and mind practice using it’s meditative movements rooting back to ancient Indian culture. The practice of yoga offers wonderful benefits like reducing chronic back pain, reducing stress, and increasing flexibility and strength,
Even children are starting to join the yoga movement. Apparently over 3% of American children do! 429,000 more American tots used yoga in 2012 than 2007. Parents are encouraging their kids to throw down the mat and practice just like they do. Although yoga can improve children’s overall healthy, “it still has not really yet been tested for safety or effectiveness in children.”
The study emerged from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service’s survey which included 34,525 adults and 10,218 children.
Physical benefits of Yoga include:
- Increased flexibility.
- Increased muscle strength and tone.
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality.
- The maintenance of a balanced metabolism.
- Weight reduction.
- Cardio and circulatory health.
- Improved athletic performance.
- Protection from injury.
Physical therapists have been using yoga techniques for ages now to help patients suffering from certain injuries. However, there’s a darker side of yoga too. Other PTs warn that yoga potentially can do more harm than good. Extreme motions like neck movements can cause serious accidental injuries. In fact, hospitals are seeing more yoga-related injuries than ever before. For example, in 2000 there were only about 13 hospitalizations in the U.S. from yoga. However, in 2003, the number grew to a startling 46.
Most Common Yoga Injuries
- Lower Back Problems
- Knee Tears
- Hamstring Pulls
- Wrist Strains
- Neck Injuries
Physical therapists know the beneficial properties of yoga such as the “holding” position for gaining isometric muscle power and stretching targeting muscle groups. However, physical therapists need to be mindful that they remember to teach patients the proper ways to practice yoga and avoid hurting themselves.