Yoga will not cure arthritis, but it will help restore joint flexibility and strengthen movement. Practicing yoga will help prevent the degeneration of healthy joints.
Yoga and Health Insurance
As evidence of the health benefits of yoga continues to mount, some insurance carriers and HMOs are beginning to cover yoga. At Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest HMOs serving the United States, yoga and mindful meditation classes are offered through the Health Education Services Department. Nancy Bouffard, director of Kaiser Permanente’s health education services in San Francisco, says the classes do not concentrate on or adhere to one style of yoga, but demonstrate a variety of yoga postures with an emphasis on stretching, toning muscles, relieving tension, and cultivating mind-body awareness. Not all Kaiser Permanente sites around the country offer yoga, but a growing number do. Although the classes are not free, the fee is nominal for members and only a bit more for nonmembers.
Yoga is very good medicine, and it doesn’t require a prescription. It is a good antidote for chronic pain, back pain, arthritis, and even some life-threatening illnesses. Many clinics and hospitals recognize yoga’s healing abilities for individuals, and classes are cropping up in health care facilities across the country, some of which are subsidized by insurance coverage. Many yoga teachers become yoga therapists, specializing in one or more form of healing yoga. People with illnesses or chronic pain should investigate the potential yoga may have in helping them deal with their conditions.
While this chapter explored some of yoga’s contributions to the health field, the last chapter of the blog shows yoga’s full spectrum it takes yoga into the workplace, on the road, and from the wide-eyed wonder of a child’s vision of yoga to the amazement and beauty of seniors practicing yoga.