Yoga as a Complementary Health Practice for Women with Depression

Tuesday, July 12, 2011: 4:25 PM

Patricia Kinser, WHNP-BC, MS, RN
Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the possible therapeutic effects of yoga as a complementary health practice for women with depression.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will engage in dialogue regarding areas for future research and possible research methodologies for evaluating yoga as a complementary health practice.

Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to describe the psychological and physiologic effects of yoga for women with clinical depression, to elucidate current research findings, and to identify areas for future research, using this author’s research study as an example of a research methodology.  Depression is one of the most common causes of mental suffering and disability in reproductive age women in the United States, and it is associated with decreased quality of life and increased mortality and morbidity.  Many women with depression seek out complementary therapies because the usual allopathic care does not adequately meet their individual symptoms or their personal explanatory model of depression. Therefore, there is a need for high quality nursing research about the psychological and physiological effects of complementary interventions in women with depression, particularly yoga, which is a low-impact non-pharmacological therapy that may minimize the symptoms and physiologic impact of depression and related anxiety and psychological stress.

 Methods:  Based upon the Integrative Model of Depression in Women conceptual framework, this author will conduct a randomized controlled trial to examine the feasibility and acceptability of an eight week Hatha yoga intervention specifically designed for women of reproductive age who have depression. 

 Results: The results of this study are not yet available.  The data will be analyzed using multilevel modeling techniques. 

 Conclusion: In alignment with the Sigma Theta Tau mission of supporting the learning and knowledge of nurses, the goal of this presentation is to provide insights into the possible effects of yoga as a complementary therapy for women with depression and to promote dialogue about research methodologies about complementary therapies, based upon this author’s upcoming research study.  This presentation will discuss the research plan as well as recent literature regarding yoga as a complementary health practice.