School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations

Title

The Medical Field’s Views on the Lack of Structure and Licensing among Yoga Therapists

Poster Number

302

Document Type

Poster

Publication Date

3-2016

Abstract

Patient use of yoga therapy has increased steadily in recent years, but the field of yoga therapy is still widely widely unstructured and lacks a standardized national credentialing process. Only self-regulation via organizations such as the International Association of Yoga Therapists currently exists. This means that there is no quality control measure in this field, and there is no officially recognized license to practice. Integrative medicine centers that recommend yoga therapy each have their own unique system for vetting yoga therapists to work with patients. The goal of this project is to compile and analyze the current standards the medical community requires a yoga therapist to meet in clinical practice, and the current feeling the integrative medicine community has regarding the lack of a national yoga therapist credential. To do this, a survey was sent to heads of integrative medicine centers across the US. It inquired about the yoga therapists that currently work within those centers, what level of training the center requires a yoga therapist to have, and what these doctors believe are important steps toward forming a national yoga therapy credential. The data collected showed a wide variety of requirements for yoga therapists among the different centers. Only one-third of respondents reported an internal credentialing process at their center, but each doctor did report a list of requirements for the yoga therapists that work with them. The lowest level of training reported was RYT-200, and the highest was RYT-500 plus a masters degree. A third of the doctors require a minimum of 2 years teaching experience from the yoga therapists, and the number of years of therapy experience varied from zero to four, with one institution having the yoga therapists do in house therapy clinical training before they can officially practice. Of the survey respondents, two-thirds believe that a national standard is needed. Many different barriers to forming a national credential were reported, the most common being a lack of standardized yoga teacher training programs. The legal difficulties of forming a license were also mentioned. The survey results clarify the specific requirements the integrative medicine community needs from yoga therapists. A review of the data collected shows that the respondents overall were very responsive to the formation of a national credential for yoga therapists; the medical community is receptive to yoga therapy as a clinical profession if the practice can be standardized and regulated.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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Presented at: GW Research Days 2016

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The Medical Field’s Views on the Lack of Structure and Licensing among Yoga Therapists

Patient use of yoga therapy has increased steadily in recent years, but the field of yoga therapy is still widely widely unstructured and lacks a standardized national credentialing process. Only self-regulation via organizations such as the International Association of Yoga Therapists currently exists. This means that there is no quality control measure in this field, and there is no officially recognized license to practice. Integrative medicine centers that recommend yoga therapy each have their own unique system for vetting yoga therapists to work with patients. The goal of this project is to compile and analyze the current standards the medical community requires a yoga therapist to meet in clinical practice, and the current feeling the integrative medicine community has regarding the lack of a national yoga therapist credential. To do this, a survey was sent to heads of integrative medicine centers across the US. It inquired about the yoga therapists that currently work within those centers, what level of training the center requires a yoga therapist to have, and what these doctors believe are important steps toward forming a national yoga therapy credential. The data collected showed a wide variety of requirements for yoga therapists among the different centers. Only one-third of respondents reported an internal credentialing process at their center, but each doctor did report a list of requirements for the yoga therapists that work with them. The lowest level of training reported was RYT-200, and the highest was RYT-500 plus a masters degree. A third of the doctors require a minimum of 2 years teaching experience from the yoga therapists, and the number of years of therapy experience varied from zero to four, with one institution having the yoga therapists do in house therapy clinical training before they can officially practice. Of the survey respondents, two-thirds believe that a national standard is needed. Many different barriers to forming a national credential were reported, the most common being a lack of standardized yoga teacher training programs. The legal difficulties of forming a license were also mentioned. The survey results clarify the specific requirements the integrative medicine community needs from yoga therapists. A review of the data collected shows that the respondents overall were very responsive to the formation of a national credential for yoga therapists; the medical community is receptive to yoga therapy as a clinical profession if the practice can be standardized and regulated.