Yoga

RI study finds group yoga helps stressed teens

In various ongoing and completed clinical trials, Uebelacker has focused on people with a partial response to antidepressant treatment, people with chronic pain enrolled in drug-assisted treatment for opioid disorders, people in prison and women. depressed pregnant.

Q: What is the study about?

Uebelacker: We test a group of adolescents who had high levels of depression or stress and compare the yoga program to a group cognitive behavioral therapy treatment, which is an evidence-based treatment for depression. With the pilot study, we’re really looking at, can we do that? Are the children interested? Will they come to class and how can we make the lessons accessible for them?

We took the pilot’s feedback to prepare us to be able to do a larger scale study where we ultimately want to compare a yoga class to a CBT group and if both are helpful for teens with depression, if yoga isn’t. is not inferior to the CBT group, and then that will allow us to see for whom a yoga class will be better or for whom will a CBT group be better?

(The pilot study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institutes of Health; Dr Shirley Yen was the study director)

Q: Why yoga?

Uebelacker: Yoga really incorporates aspects of medication, breath awareness and breath control, as well as movement. What I also really like about yoga is that for adults and children with depression, if you think about medication, it can be difficult for some people to start a sitting meditation practice. They just sit there with all these negative thoughts all the time. In yoga, however, it incorporates all of those things you need: focus on their breathing, focus on their movements, it teaches mindfulness but in the context where it may be easier to access for some sufferers. of depression.

Also, if you think about people who are depressed, who are sort of lethargic, it really helps get them moving in a smooth way.

Q: And when you say “high levels of depression” what does that mean?

Uebelacker: It varies a bit. Some of the teens in our program absolutely went through individual therapy, had a psychiatrist, and may be given some kind of medication.

Q: When did this program start and how many participants did you have?

Uebelacker: It was a three-year study and we’re only at the end of it. In the beginning, we organized focus groups with teenagers and parents. We took a look at their needs and ideas on how yoga for teens and stress might look like. Then we enrolled 11 children in the yoga program.

In our third phase, we randomly assigned over 40 children to the yoga program or group CBT program.

Q: What has been the impact of COVID-19 on the program?

Uebelacker: Halfway through the study, COVID-19 hit and we had to move everything from person to person to online. But, the upside was that all of the kids kept attending, so they clearly liked it. If kids and parents think something isn’t working for them or they don’t like it, they just won’t come back and be wasting their time. So it appears that the program has been acceptable to these teens, and even online.

Q: The study is almost complete. What have you found so far?

Uebelacker: Many teens said they found it relaxing and helped them overcome the stresses of everyday life, especially in the past year or so. Now they can go to school, and if there is a stressful time when their hearts are pounding, they have techniques they can use (like breathing exercises) to cope with the present moment. And that’s exactly what they tell us.

Q: You have seen how yoga has helped other populations as well. What do you see with this data?

Uebelacker: I’m in the process of completing a study that examines how health education and yoga stack up against depressed pregnant women. We don’t have any results yet, but there is also preliminary data showing that yoga may help relieve chronic pain, which may help people with opioid use disorders who have been diagnosed with opioid use disorders. prescribed medication to relieve their pain. We want to offer them an alternative. So we read each other to begin a study in Providence and Boston on yoga for chronic pain in this population.


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz.



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