Results from a clinical yoga program for veterans: Yoga via telehealth provides comparable satisfaction and health improvements to in-person yoga

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Abstract

Background: Yoga is increasingly popular, though little data regarding its implementation in healthcare settings is available. Similarly, telehealth is being utilized more frequently to increase access to healthcare; however we know of no research on the acceptability or effectiveness of yoga delivered through telehealth. Therefore, we evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and patient-reported effectiveness of a clinical yoga program at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center and assessed whether these outcomes differed between those participating in-person and those participating via telehealth. Methods: Veterans who attended a yoga class at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System were invited to complete an anonymous program evaluation survey. Results: 64 Veterans completed the survey. Participants reported high satisfaction with the classes and the instructors. More than 80% of participants who endorsed a problem with pain, energy level, depression, or anxiety reported improvement in these symptoms. Those who participated via telehealth did not differ from those who participated in-person in any measure of satisfaction, overall improvement (p = .40), or improvement in any of 16 specific health problems. Conclusions: Delivering yoga to a wide range of patients within a healthcare setting appears to be feasible and acceptable, both when delivered in-person and via telehealth. Patients in this clinical yoga program reported high levels of satisfaction and improvement in multiple problem areas. This preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of a clinical yoga program complements prior evidence for the efficacy of yoga and supports the use of yoga in healthcare settings.

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Schulz-Heik, R. J., Meyer, H., Mahoney, L., Stanton, M. V., Cho, R. H., Moore-Downing, D. P., … Bayley, P. J. (2017). Results from a clinical yoga program for veterans: Yoga via telehealth provides comparable satisfaction and health improvements to in-person yoga. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-017-1705-4

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