With over 11 years’ work as lead Yoga Consultant for University of York research and post-research projects, CNHC Registered Yoga Therapist Alison Trewhela, has seen real progress in the way that group Yoga Therapy is being accepted and offered within the NHS, to patients and staff.
In Autumn 2016, NICE Guidance on low back pain recommended group Yoga as a beneficial first step treatment. This was based partly on the evidence from a 313-participant randomised controlled trial for which Alison designed the holistic ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ (YHLB) programme (1). A further research paper showed it would be cost-effective for the NHS and wider society (2).
Alison has continued to establish links with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), hospital departments and surgeries in Cornwall and Devon, to raise awareness amongst GPs and Commissioners of the availability of this specific evidence-based course. Alison said: “The Yoga for Healthy Backs 12-week Courses are now being offered to patients via GP surgeries in Cornwall and Kent, with partial funding and administrative support from the NHS. The course is also being offered to NHS staff to help them deal with back care and stress because attending the course has an impressive 70% reduction in time off work due to back pain.”
Alison and others are working hard to share this best practice implementation model throughout the UK, with the help of several national bodies interested in YHLB because of its unique strong evidence-base, NHS support and charity links.
Alison added: “This is real progress and I am so pleased that our hard work to gather evidence has paid off. The NICE recognition has been a breakthrough for us and for the wider recognition of the value of yoga and yoga therapy for low back pain.”
Alison is Medical School Yoga Specialist Tutor at the University of Exeter and Director of the Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs Institute with a register of 400+ teachers nationwide.
For details of the research studies mentioned above visit:
1. H. Tilbrook et al ‘Ann. Int. Med.’ www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22041945
2. LH Chuang et al ‘Spine’ Journal