Biopsychosocial benefits of movement-based complementary and integrative health therapies for patients with chronic conditions.

Author: Bolton RE1,2, Fix GM1,3, VanDeusen Lukas C3,4, Elwy AR3,4, Bokhour BG1,3
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup>1 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Bedford, USA. <sup>2</sup>2 Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, USA. <sup>3</sup>3 Department of Health Law, Policy, and Management, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, USA. <sup>4</sup>4 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, USA.
Conference/Journal: Chronic Illn.
Date published: 2018 Jan 1
Other: Volume ID: 1742395318782377 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1177/1742395318782377. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 216

Objectives Complementary and integrative health practices are growing in popularity, including use of movement-based therapies such as yoga, tai-chi, and qigong. Movement-based therapies are beneficial for a range of health conditions and are used more frequently by individuals with chronic illness. Yet little is known about how patients with chronic conditions characterize the health benefits of movement-based therapies. Methods We conducted focus groups with 31 patients enrolled in yoga and qigong programs for chronic conditions at two VA medical centers. Transcripts were analyzed using conventional content analysis with codes developed inductively from the data. Participants' descriptions of health benefits were then mapped to Engel's biopsychosocial model. Results Participants described improvements in all biopsychosocial realms, including improved physical and mental health, reduced opiate and psychotropic use, enhanced emotional well-being, and better social relationships. Changes were attributed to physical improvements, development of coping skills, and increased self-awareness. Discussion Patients with chronic illnesses in our sample reported multiple benefits from participation in movement-based therapies, including in physical, mental, and social health realms. Providers treating patients with complex comorbidities may consider referrals to movement-based therapy programs to address multiple concerns simultaneously, particularly among patients seeking alternatives to medication or adjunctive to an opiate reduction strategy.

KEYWORDS: Chronic health conditions; biopsychosocial care; complementary and integrative health; military veterans; qualitative research

PMID: 29914264 DOI: 10.1177/1742395318782377