Dr. Rubenstein Fazzio, who is on faculty at Loyola Marymount University and is certified as a yoga teacher by Samata International Yoga and Health Institute, says the practice of physioyoga has received increased media attention over the past two years since actress Kim Cattrall of Sex and the City fame credited the practice—which she nicknamed fizzy yoga—with helping her get through a grueling performance schedule for a London play.
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Explore This IssueFebruary 2016
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“Physioyoga helps patients recover both mentally and physically,” says Dr. Rubenstein Fazzio, who notes the practice can help patients with a variety of health conditions, including back and neck pain, musculoskeletal injuries, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, neurological conditions, migraines, fibromyalgia, incontinence and irritable bowel syndrome.
“When people think of yoga, they think of poses, but physioyoga is so much more than that,” Dr. Rubenstein Fazzio says. “For example, if a patient is suffering from neck pain, we also look at how changing their breathing patterns affects their neck pain and how they can manage stress better.”
Research has shown that yoga can help reduce pain, while also offering physical and psychological benefits for arthritis patients. A 2013 study conducted at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, showed that arthritis patients who practiced yoga regularly reduced their pain levels, improved movement, had less morning stiffness and experienced reduced levels of depression.
Yet, Dr. Rubenstein Fazzio cautions that it’s also important for patients and rheumatologists to work with a physical therapist who has been trained in yoga techniques, rather than having a patient take a yoga class or attempt yoga on their own.
“A physical therapist who has undergone yoga training can develop a treatment plan that a patient can practice in a safe and effective manner without risking further injury,” Dr. Rubenstein Fazzio says. “Physical therapists are trained to incorporate a patient’s medical history and current physical functioning to ensure proper modifications to yoga as necessary.”
Linda Childers is a health writer located in the San Francisco Bay Area.