Letter: Yoga a sound alternative to opioids
As a teacher of yoga and meditation for 30 plus years, I’d like to comment on these activities as alternatives to opioids.
Even though insurance doesn’t cover the cost of mindfulness meditation, it is very inexpensive to learn and costs nothing to practice. I teach it for free (donation only, for space) as do many other teachers.
The OLLI program at Yavapai College has classes and has scholarships available for needy students. Cost should not be an object. The key is practice. One has to practice regularly as it is a skill that gets better with time.
Regarding yoga: it is more effective than “stretching therapy” as it engages the mind as well as the body, and much of pain perception is in the mind. That’s why meditation works in pain control.
Listed in the “Cons” section is that there is little research on the mechanisms of yoga, e.g. exactly how it works. That should not be as important as the fact that it DOES work.
One needs a skilled teacher who understands some anatomy and physiology, but it can be very effective in relieving pain. Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of students who were able to achieve significant pain reduction, without the side effects of drugs.
Some have used medical marijuana as an additional help, or topical pain creams or essential oils. All say the yoga is the best thing they’ve ever found. Yoga is also a mood lifter, very important because pain patients tend to get depressed.