Barwon Health and Deakin University researchers are examining how yoga might boost traditional psychological treatment to help people with depression and anxiety.
A pilot trial will be conducted at a primary mental health service in Geelong, which is jointly led by Barwon Health and Deakin University and supported by the Western Victoria Primary Health Network.
Professor Michael Berk, of Deakin University and Barwon Health, said there was a proliferation of research into alternative and complementary medical approaches in mental health over the past decade, with yoga emerging as particularly promising.
“We need to better understand the mechanisms for these benefits and how yoga can work with other forms of treatment, such as psychological treatment to maximise people’s recovery from common and debilitating conditions, such as depression and anxiety,” he said.
“We are thrilled that this work is being led right here in Geelong.”
He said Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) supported people to become aware of thoughts and behaviours that could drive anxiety and depression, to learn strategies that challenge negative thoughts and patterns, and to learn new skills and techniques that improve their mental health.
The trial will compare adults with anxiety and depression who complete an eight-week course of group-based CBT alone, with a different group who complete the group CBT program with the addition of group yoga and an individually-tailored yoga program for home practice.
The weekly group yoga class is designed specifically for those with anxiety and depression whilst the individualised home practice will aim to assist the participant’s journey during the study.
Amy Langbein, Barwon Health Psychology Clinic manager said CBT was a well-researched and effective therapy for anxiety and depression.
“We see yoga as a way to approach the mind and body in a more integrated way and we hope this not only encourages people to engage in treatment, but also allows people to more fully benefit from CBT techniques.”