Healing Mind and Body: Using Therapeutic Yoga to Treat Symptoms of Schizophrenia

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Length: 1 hour

Elizabeth Visceglia, MD

As the author of the first study performed and published in the US on using yoga in the treatment of schizophrenia, I have always been deeply interested in integrative approaches to mental health.  I performed this study at Bronx State Psychiatric center with no funding, and although the study was small, we had remarkable results.  I conduct a session that is both experiential and theoretical.  I give an overview of the research on yoga and schizophrenia, psychological theories about why yoga is so effective, and biologic/physiologic explanations of likely mechanisms of action of yoga practices.  In addition, there are important experiential aspects, including teaching participants basic but extremely healing breathing and movement practices – practices that can be safely used by anyone for one's own benefit or taught to someone suffering with the symptoms of schizophrenia.  I also give case histories of people I have worked with over the years and share the way that practicing yoga has improved their lives, whether as outpatients or during long-term hospitalization.  Through this workshop, we will all develop a deeper understanding of the ways that yoga can be a highly effective adjunctive healing modality for those suffering with schizophrenia, and the remarkable effects – biologically, psychologically, and socially – that yoga can have when properly utilized.

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