Mind-Body Therapy and Psychiatry: Ancient Tools for Modern Practice

Getting Started

Dr Gerbarg suggested that psychiatrists seeking to introduce yoga to their patients might consider recommending Yoga Therapy, defined as “the application of Yogic principles to a particular person with the objective of achieving a particular spiritual, psychological, or physiological goal.”16 Practitioners can be found through the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Yoga is not one-size-fits-all, and different styles of yoga are appropriate for different patients. “For example, it is important to find a practitioner who specializes in depression, or the particular psychiatric condition of your patient, before making the referral, and it would be best if you could get to know the practitioner you are recommending,” she emphasized, adding that it is important to engage in ongoing monitoring of how the therapy is progressing.

“The increased focus on these interventions and their applicability and the ever-growing evidence base is a very timely development because we are in the grip of a crisis of medication abuse, rising suicide rates, trauma, PTSD, and difficulties people have in relating to one another,” Dr Gerbarg observed. Additionally, rising healthcare costs make it even more important for physicians to “learn about nonmedication practices, such as mind-body medicine, which are inexpensive, safe, beneficial, and simple and can be extremely helpful in augmenting more conventional treatments.”

The following workshops and websites provide additional mind-body resources for clinicians:


Integrative Medicine, American Psychiatric Association

APA Caucus on Complementary and Integrative Psychiatry

LifeForce Yoga

Yoga Alliance

Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center

Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital


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