Abstract ID: 3305

Primary Topic: Mind-body (including meditation and yoga)
Secondary Topic: Integrative medicine delivery models

Yoga in the Occupational Setting: Efficacy Research Studies
Sat Bir S Khalsa, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States; Maryanna D Klatt, PhD, The Ohio State University, College of Medicine, Columbus, OH, United States; Crystal L Park, Ph.D., , Storrs, CT, United States

Late Breaker: No

Overview

Chronic occupational stress is highly prevalent in the workplace and negatively impacts many aspects of psychological and physical health, including decreased immune function and increased risk of disease and mortality. Stress is also a main contributing factor to workplace absenteeism, employee turnover, job satisfaction and performance, and loss of productivity. It is important to identify and evaluate interventions that can provide practical skills and techniques to regulate stress, foster resilience, improve positive affect, reduce negative affect, increase empowerment and self-efficacy, increase and/or maintain healthy behaviors such as physical exercise and a healthy diet, and improve quality of life, wellness and well-being.  Preliminary studies of resilience-training programs, some of which include aspects of mindfulness, compassion, self-regulation of stress, and cognitive behavioral techniques, have been shown to improve psychological and physical wellbeing and job performance. Mind-body interventions such as yoga are accessible, highly adaptable, practical approaches that can build resilience to stress. Yoga is a comprehensive multicomponent practice including postures and physical exercises, breath regulation techniques, deep relaxation and meditation and mindfulness practices.  The scientific evidence for the psychological and physical health benefits of yoga continues to accumulate and the use of yoga in the United States is on the rise, with approximately 10% of US adults having practiced yoga in 2012, and it is therefore a potentially useful and attractive workplace intervention.  This symposium will present findings from three investigators who have conducted research on the implementation of yoga programs in occupational settings.

Rationale

Stress in the occupational/workplace setting is a growing concern, with over 70% of working people reporting that their occupation is a main source of stress. Chronic occupational stress negatively impacts many aspects of psychological and physical health, including decreased immune function and increased risk of disease and mortality. Stress is also a main contributing factor to workplace absenteeism and loss of productivity, with 60% of workers reporting loss of productivity due to stress over the previous month and an estimated 1 million workers in the U.S. are absent each day due to stress. Workplace interventions that can provide practical skills and techniques to regulate stress to prevent psychological and physical health problems are therefore important. Resilience is a positive adaptation to otherwise stressful situations whereby mental health is maintained or recovered despite experiencing adversity. Fostering resilience can help reduce stress, improve positive affect, reduce negative affect, increase a sense of empowerment or self-efficacy, and increase or maintain healthy behaviors such as physical exercise and a healthy diet. In occupational populations, higher resilience is associated with higher job satisfaction and workplace happiness. Indeed, resilience-training programs, some of which include aspects of mindfulness, compassion, self-regulation of stress, and cognitive behavioral techniques, have been shown to improve psychological and physical wellbeing and job performance. Practical and cost-effective techniques that increase resilience may benefit organizations by saving costs related to loss of productivity and absenteeism.  Mind-body interventions such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and yoga are accessible, highly adaptable, practical approaches that can build resilience to stress. The scientific evidence for the psychological and physical health benefits of mindfulness and yoga continues to accumulate and the use of yoga in the United States is on the rise, with approximately 10% of US adults having practiced yoga in 2012. Recent reviews and meta-analyses of mind-body interventions in professional populations have shown improvements in stress, resilience, mindfulness, and affect. A meta-analysis of 19 studies indicated that brief (e.g. 4- week) mindfulness interventions were as effective as longer (e.g. 8-week) interventions for improving psychological health, including stress, affect, mood, anxiety, depression, job satisfaction, and sleep quality. Therefore, programs that teach mindfulness practices over a shorter period of time may be more practical and cost-effective approach to organizational programs. Importantly, recent evidence suggests that the yoga component of MBSR may be the critical element necessary for improving psychological wellbeing – even more than the mindfulness meditation or body scan components. Yoga is a multicomponent system of mind-body practices including physical postures and exercises, breathing exercises, deep relaxation techniques, as well as meditation/mindfulness practices. Systematic research reviews support the use of yoga for promoting psychological health. There is burgeoning evidence that yoga is effective for promoting psychological health in occupational settings.

Objectives

Participants will understand the need for behavioral interventions in occupational settings and the rationale for yoga as a practical efficacious intervention in the workplace.

Participants will understand the yoga intervention characteristics that have been used in research evaluating the benefits of yoga interventions in the workplace setting.

Participants will understand the efficacy of yoga on physical and mental health and performance on a variety of outcome measures in multiple research studies.

Methods/Session Format

Introduction – Sat Bir Khalsa – 10 minutes

  • Introduction to the symposium topic and the speakers
  • The psychological and health challenges in the occupational setting and the rationale for yoga as a workplace intervention
  • Introduction to yoga practice and a logic model for the efficacy of yoga in health and wellness
  • Brief review of prior research on mind-body interventions in workplace settings

  

Research Study Report – Crystal Park – 20 minutes followed by 3 minutes Q & A

Improving physical and mental health in frontline mental health care providers: Yoga-based stress management versus cognitive behavioral stress management, Riley KE, Park CL, Wilson A, Sabo AN, Antoni MH, Braun TD, Harrington J, Reiss J, Pasalis E, Harris AD, Cope S, Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, 1–23, 2016.

Research Study Report – Maryanna Klatt – 20 minutes followed by 3 minutes Q & A

Feasibility of a mindfulness-based intervention for surgical intensive care unit personnel, Steinberg BA, Klatt M, Duchemin AM, American Journal of Critical Care, 26(1):10-18, 2016.

Mindfulness in Motion (MIM): An onsite mindfulness based intervention (MBI) for chronically high stress work environments to increase resiliency and work engagement, Klatt M, Steinberg B, Duchemin AM, Journal of Visualized Experiments, Jul 1;(101):e52359, 2015.

A small randomized pilot study of a workplace mindfulness-based intervention for surgical intensive care unit personnel: effects on salivary α-amylase levels, Duchemin AM, Steinberg BA, Marks DR, Vanover K, Klatt M, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 57(4):393-9, 2015.

Research Study Report – Sat Bir Khalsa – 20 minutes followed by 3 minutes Q & A

Improvements in psychological health following a residential yoga-based program for frontline professionals, Trent NL, Miraglia M, Dusek J, Pasilis E, Khalsa SBS, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, (accepted pending minor revisions).

Evaluation of the benefits of a kripalu yoga program for police academy trainees: a pilot study, Jeter PE, Cronin S, Khalsa SB, International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 23(1):24-30, 2013.

Yoga for reducing perceived stress and back pain at work, Hartfiel N, Burton C, Rycroft-Malone J, Clarke G, Havenhand J, Khalsa SB, Edwards RT, Occupational Medicine (London), 62(8):606-12, 2012.

The effectiveness of yoga for the improvement of well-being and resilience to stress in the workplace, Hartfiel N, Havenhand J, Khalsa SB, Clarke G, Krayer A, Scandinavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health, 37(1):70-6, 2011.

Panel Discussion Q & A – Crystal Park, Maryanna Klatt, Sat Bir Khalsa – 11 minutes

Outline

  • Introduction to the symposium topic and the speakers
  • The psychological and health challenges in the occupational setting and the rationale for yoga as a workplace intervention
  • Introduction to yoga practice and a logic model for the efficacy of yoga in health and wellness in the workplace
  • Brief review of prior research on mind-body interventions in workplace settings
  • Presentation of research on yoga in mental health care providers by Crystal Park
  • Presentation of research on yoga in workers in high stress health care environments by Maryanna Klatt
  • Presentation of research on yoga in clerical, enforcement, education and health care workers by Sat Bir Khalsa
  • Q & A panel with symposium attendees and all three faculty