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Yoga and mindfulness for anxiety and depression and the role of mental health professionals: a literature review

Nicole Butterfield (Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Tim Schultz (Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Philippa Rasmussen (School of Nursing, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Michael Proeve (School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 9 January 2017

4448

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of yoga in the management of anxiety and depression, development of mindfulness and self-compassion and implications for mental health care delivery and mental health professionals, with a specific focus on nursing practice.

Design/methodology/approach

A search of electronic databases Scopus, CINAHL, EMBASE, Medline and Cochrane Library was undertaken.

Findings

There is growing research evidence supporting the use of yoga as an adjunct or combination therapy for the management of stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness has been indicated as a potential mechanism of change but needs further research. Health care professionals may play an important role in supporting consumers to engage in yoga as part of their mental health care.

Research limitations/implications

Yoga research to date has been limited by methodological weaknesses including wide variation of yoga practices, styles and teaching methods; difficulties in double-blinding, suitable placebo-control; lack of randomised controlled trials and small sample sizes. The literature highlights that more high-quality yoga and mental health research is needed.

Practical implications

The paper introduces the potential role of yoga for anxiety and depression in the health care system and the role of mental health professionals in implementing and promoting holistic yoga-based therapies.

Originality/value

This paper proposes a yoga model for mental health and provides insight into a proposed new direction for future mental health care and the role of nursing practice and other mental health professionals.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Pat Mead (Lecturer, School of Nursing, The University of Adelaide) provided valuable feedback on the original manuscript.

Citation

Butterfield, N., Schultz, T., Rasmussen, P. and Proeve, M. (2017), "Yoga and mindfulness for anxiety and depression and the role of mental health professionals: a literature review", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 44-54. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-01-2016-0002

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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