We had the privilege of hosting workshops by Marlysa Sullivan & Matthew Taylor at Minded in June and they’ve just published a brilliant white paper examining the role of yoga therapy in comprehensive integrative pain management (CIPM) alongside Neil Pearson & Shelly Prosko.

The pain crisis is described, and how yoga therapists can contribute to its solution is explained. Yoga therapy can be an essential component of the multidisciplinary undertaking that will be required to improve patient outcomes and alter the trajectory of the global public health crisis constituted by an epidemic of poorly understood and inadequately addressed pain. Additional context and evidence are presented to document the effectiveness of yoga therapy interventions to support people living with pain.

It is widely understood and accepted that integrative solutions to the current public health pain crisis are lacking and its an area we are committed to advancing at the Minded Institute. The paper considers literature on how Yoga therapy can be part of the solution to a range of issues, for instance:

When the primary problem is misunderstood in treatment;
When effective pain-care/comprehensive management approaches are needed for people in pain. The pain care provided through current systems tends to have high costs, limited efficacy, and relatively high risk. This care generally fails to address social, behavioral, and spiritual determinants of pain, as well as the structural/cultural barriers to care

It also considers when pain-care programs, services, and interventions are not accessible or inclusive and considers that, where pain literacy is weak or nonexistent, rapid advancements in pain science have left most major stakeholders—providers, legislators, insurers, and government —behind in pain literacy.

“This lack of understanding makes planning and coordinating care more difficult and slows the adoption of treatments supported by contemporary pain science. As a profession, yoga therapy needs to continually address these shortfalls to avoid perpetuating the current problems and to take a leading role in interprofessional collaborations”

The purpose of the paper is to help address issues, like the above, by outlining how they relate to yoga therapy and offering actionable steps for their resolution. It aims to offer new insight into how yoga therapy can support making CIPM a reality, ultimately improving care for people living with pain.

The paper is a really fascinating and useful resource, and makes clear that it is not about how yoga therapy will solve the current pain crisis: “Rather, accurately discerning the causes of suffering in this complex problem is the yogic approach; yoga interventions are intended to alleviate suffering by promoting overall well-being, quality of life, and flourishing in one’s particular life circumstance”

The white paper concludes that overall, yoga therapy is positioned as an important potential contributor within CIPM because it addresses accessibility issues and can be provided for low cost, integrated into current CIPM practices, and continued after more expensive services are discontinued.

You can read the paper in full here:


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