Could yoga teachers play a role in regional pain care?

More people experience chronic pain in regional Australia than our cities, increasing the prevalence of unemployment, social isolation and mental illness – and their flow-on economic costs.

As part of an internship facilitated by McCusker Institute, UWA psychology student Amelia Reynolds completed a study into the role yoga teachers could play in regional pain care. Amelia researched the prevalence of pain outside our major cities, services in country Australia, and rates of related health conditions. She also interviewed yoga teachers in WA’s southwest to understand their exposure, knowledge and confidence to working with chronic pain.

Amelia found:

  1. Yoga teachers are already working with students with a range of pain conditions.
  2. Teachers have an intuitive understanding of the body-mind nature of pain.
  3. Teachers’ answers, however, to the pain quiz suggest a misunderstanding of current pain science, which is likely to (potentially negatively) affect the way they work with students with or at risk of pain, including choice of language.

Yoga teachers have a (somewhat unique) capability to tailor group classes to often greatly varied individual needs. This positions them well to offer group-based pain care. With improved knowledge about the actual mechanisms of pain, yoga teachers will be able to work in a more informed way, using precise language, to support students with a range of pain conditions.

Thank you to all the yoga teachers who so generously helped with this research. To read the full report email [email protected] Or contact us about Yoga for Pain Practitioner Training in your region.



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