Although limited, the growth of funding for yoga research is growing rapidly. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center received more than $4.5 million from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute to support an ongoing study of the efficacy of yoga as part of a treatment program for women with breast cancer (Enfield, 2013). More and more doctors are including yoga and nutrition in their offices. For example, Dr. Ron Shemesh, MD of Mind Body Spirit Care, uses both blood and lab tests to check for nutritional depletion, in addition to yoga classes in his obstetrics and gynecology practice (Shemesh, 2019) There is significant growth in research evaluating how yoga specifically impacts both mental and physical health (personal knowledge). Despite rapid advances in medical technology and continuous drug research, yoga is gaining attention, becoming more widely accepted in conventional healthcare, particularly in functional and integrative medicine (personal knowledge; (Network, n.d.). In fact, according to research, yoga therapy is now being offered in 93% of 755 integrative medical facilities across the U.S. (YogaUOnline, n.d.). Dr. Michael Sinel, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of California states that he “deeply believes in the therapeutic value of yoga for health care” (YogaUOnline, n.d.).
Samuel Barnes agrees that functional medicine in general is becoming more accepted into American hospitals, stating that “[n]owadays, you will find Reiki healers in the ICU, acupuncturists in the cancer ward, and yoga instructors working alongside the physical therapists, all in the name of delivering optimal outcomes (Barnes, 2018).” The perspective on yoga in Western conventional medicine is changing from a non-respected form of healing, to a well-researched and one of the most effective modalities in healthcare today (Barnes, 2018). One study combining the practice of yoga with physical therapy demonstrated that up to 40% of full function and mobility was recovered while patients were healing from injuries (Robert B. Saper, et al., 2017).
As stated in Annals of Internal Medicine states “Yoga’s benefits for hospital patients extend beyond the physical” (Helen E. Tilbrook, et al., 2011). Patients undergoing long-term treatments consistently report that regular yoga practice improves their mood, makes them more optimistic, and leads to better long term outcomes to their treatment.