International Institute of Yoga Therapy
Extends Care, Research and
Education Programs Statewide
by Darla Nagel
|IIYT Students and Faculty during one of the UofM Michigan Medicine Health Equity Core events at the UofM Detroit Center.
International Institute of Yoga Therapy (IIYT) works statewide with Henry Ford Health (HFH), with the University of Michigan Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center and most recently with Corewell Health (formerly known as Beaumont) in patient-centered care, research in clinical yoga therapy and community education. At the postgraduate level, IIYT students are completing research-focused fellowships specializing in pain, adult sickle cell disease, oncology, maternal and fetal health and more, enabling Michigan patients to learn about and benefit from evidence-based yoga therapy.
IIYT’s director and certified yoga therapist, Veronica Zador, says, “Now in its tenth year, IIYT continues to lead the field of yoga therapy as a part of multidisciplinary approaches to patient-centered care and research. Certified IIYT yoga therapists deliver breathing and mindfulness techniques that have been shown to help reverse negative effects of anxiety, stress, pain and fear to patients during their diagnosis, treatment, adaptation and recovery.”
Yoga therapy for pain management in adults with sickle cell disease pain is being provided at HFH by IIYT fellows Beverly Lochard and Kimberli Boyd. This effort is overseen by Lara Zador, M.D., who directs HFH’s Multidisciplinary Pain Clinic and Comprehensive Sickle Cell Pain Clinic while holding the post of associate professor of anesthesiology at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
Yoga therapy is also an option for patients with breast cancer at HFH. Eleanor M. Walker, M.D., division director of Breast Services in the Department of Radiation Oncology Breast Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) and medical director of HFHS Center for Integrative Medicine, has a leadership role in this application of yoga therapy.
A research project connects pain management, anesthesiology and yoga therapy. Dr. Lara Zador says, “We conducted a prospective study investigating the effects of yoga therapy on periprocedural pain. For the study, patients were offered yoga therapy in the pain clinic at HFH, the results of which showed a significant reduction in pain and anxiety in patients who received yoga therapy compared to patients who did not receive yoga therapy.”
IIYT is also educating the public about yoga therapy, as shown by Chanelle Ward’s work as community outreach coordinator for the University of Michigan’s Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center-Health Equity Core. Ward says, “I work closely with community and patient advocacy organizations to inform them about research-backed pain management techniques. The way we do this is through educational courses, websites we create and in-person events at the University of Michigan Detroit Center. These events that we call Meet & Greets consist of one of our researchers explaining the science behind a specific pain management technique.” At the most recent Meet & Greet focused on healthy habits on December 2, 2023, at the University of Michigan Detroit Center, IIYT fellow Kimberli Boyd was the lead presenter on yoga therapy.
IIYT is the first fully accredited, clinically based yoga therapy certification program in Michigan, providing multidisciplinary patient-centered care and pioneering research.
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Darla Nagel is a Michigan-based writer for Natural Awakenings.