New Yoga Therapy Program at Cook Children’s Center for Pain Management

Innovative Care, Patient Families | January 8, 2019 | cookchildrens

Yoga is thought to have originated in India nearly 26,000 years ago, but only began to emerge in the United States in the 1960s. Today, yoga is taking the country by storm. You don't have to look far to find a yoga class available in most community centers, health clubs, parks, senior adult communities, schools and a number of new yoga studios that have opened over the past decade.

Thanks to the innovative, multidisciplinary approach to pain treatment found at Cook Children's Center for Pain Management, patients and their families can enjoy the benefits of yoga therapy. Yoga is the process of empowering individuals in the effective use of stress-reduction techniques to minimize pain and anxiety. Patients and parents become informed on how to effectively use yoga approaches, mindfulness and biofeedback techniques, as well as social/emotional cognitive behavioral strategies that promote the development of healthy, lifelong physical, mental and emotional habits.

Cook Children's yoga therapy sessions are formulated around integrative learning approaches aimed at being more like play than therapy. The goal is to meet the patient where they are most comfortable and to implement techniques so that the patient engages willingly and in a joyful manner. The approach to therapy evolves with a patient's needs. Yoga is especially helpful for patients experiencing anxiety, depression and attention disorders. It is also beneficial for patients who need help with range of motion, strength, balance and endurance. For anxiety, the intention of the yoga therapy sessions is to be an outlet for the patient to process emotions, such as frustration, and have tools to feel empowered. For patients in need of physical rehabilitation, the goals could be any or all of the following; increasing strength, circulation, range of motion, proprioception and balance. The techniques and methods give the patient a sense of control, which is important as patients can often feel like everything else is out of their control while hospitalized. By developing self-awareness and creating a positive relationship with their body, the patient is more likely to have a positive outcome from other prescribed therapies that are part of their medical treatment.

The sessions are formulated in conjunction with the patient's care team to provide each patient a unique program to meet their needs.

Students learn about a complete wellness system that encompasses their mind, body and spirit including:

  • Breathing and biofeedback techniques to slow down the nervous system, relieve pain, promote homeostasis, develop self-control and connect children with their feelings in a safe environment.
  • Yoga poses and sequences to release physical and emotional tension, create blood flow to help regenerate tissues, improve physical and emotional strength and flexibility and develop self-confidence and concentration skills useful for dealing with stressful or traumatic situations.
  • Social/emotional games and cognitive behavioral therapy activities to develop trust, compassion, communication, teamwork and leadership skills.
  • Relaxation techniques including storytelling, mental imagery and music to calm the sympathetic nervous system and create resiliency in general, develop imagination and integrate physical, emotional and cognitive experiences.

Most patients are able participate in yoga therapy. Sessions are modified to meet the needs of the patient. We currently offer scheduled yoga therapy classes for patients admitted to the Transitional Care Unit, NeuroRehab Unit, Inpatient Psychiatry Unit and Partial Hospitalization Program. We offer a class at 3 p.m. every Wednesday in the Child Life Zone for all inpatients within the medical center who are able to participate. Individual yoga therapy consults are also available to patients throughout the medical center to provide one on one yoga sessions for inpatients who are unable or do not want to participate in a group class. The patient can participate from their bed, chair or floor in their own room with the therapist. Finally, a community yoga class is offered to children and their parents at 10 a.m. every Saturday morning (except holidays) in the Family Support room located on the first floor of the Medical Center between Mirror Mirror Hair and Nail Salon and Camelot Court.

All Cook Children's yoga therapy sessions are free of charge. Parents and siblings are welcome.

Contributing staff:
Barbara Deleon, RN
Cook Children's Pain Management Services Coordinator

Yoga for Kids Program
Pain Management Program

If you have questions about the classes, please call 682-885-4549.

To refer a patient to the Cook Children's Center for Pain Management or if you have questions about our services, please contact the clinic at 682-885-7246.

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