Objectives: This goal of this paper is to describe the reach, application, and effectiveness of an 8-week yoga therapy protocol with older cancer survivors within a Veterans Health Administration setting. Methods: To document the reach of this intervention, recruitment efforts, attendance, and practice rates were tracked. To explore the application of the protocol to this population, physical therapy preassessment and observations by the yoga therapist were recorded to ascertain necessary pose modifications. Effectiveness was measured through pre- and post-course structured interviews, tracking self-reported symptoms of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and pain. Results: Regarding reach, 15% of eligible veterans (n = 14) enrolled, participated in 3–16 classes (M±SD = 11.64±3.39), and practiced at home for 0–56 days (M±SD = 26.36±17.87). Participants were primarily Caucasian (n = 13), male (n = 13), ranged in age from 55 to 78 years (M±SD = 65.64±5.15), and had multiple medical problems. During application, substantial individualized modifications to the yoga therapy protocol were necessary. Effectiveness of the intervention was mixed. During post-course interviews, participants reported a variety of qualitative benefits. Notably, the majority of participants reported that breathing and relaxation techniques were the most useful to learn. Group comparisons of mean pre- and post-course scores on standardized measures showed no significant differences. Conclusions: A minority of older veterans express an interest in yoga, but those who do have high rates of class attendance and home practice. Careful physical pre-assessment and attentive therapists are required to undertake the adaptations required by participants with multiple comorbidities. The effectiveness of yoga in this setting requires additional study.
Implementing Yoga Therapy Adapted for Older Veterans Who Are Cancer Survivors
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Katherine King, Jeffrey Gosian, Kelly Doherty, Jnani Chapman, Jnani Chapman, Christina Walsh, Jill Pokaski Azar, Jill Pokaski Azar, Suzanne Danhauer, Jennifer Moye; Implementing Yoga Therapy Adapted for Older Veterans Who Are Cancer Survivors. Int J Yoga Therap 1 October 2014; 24 (1): 87–96. doi: https://doi.org/10.17761/ijyt.24.1.622x224527023342
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