SPRINGFIELD – The Division of Child Behavioral Health at Baystate Medical Center is seeking teenage girls and young women to participate in a research study evaluating the impact of a therapeutic yoga program designed to help them in their recovery from eating disorders.
The program, designed for teenage girls and young women ages 16 to 21 who have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, will be held twice weekly at the Yoga Sanctuary in Northampton.
Yoga is an ancient practice, which focuses on strengthening the connection between the mind and body. It has been shown to be promising in the treatment of other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
“We believe that the practice of yoga may be an extremely valuable experience for people suffering from eating disorders,” Dr. Barry Sarvet, chief, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Baystate, said. “Preliminary studies of yoga for eating disorders are quite encouraging and show improvement in motivation for treatment and body satisfaction. This study will hopefully advance our knowledge regarding the usefulness of yoga for patients with eating disorders and whether or not it should be included in current standards of treatment.”
Classes will be conducted by a certified yoga instructor in collaboration with a clinical psychologist and will include gentle yoga practice along with brief group discussions. Participants will be asked to complete questionnaires before and after the program to assess the severity of symptoms of their eating disorder and other associated symptoms.
The program is supported through the generosity of the Calabrese family, who established the Lisa’s Light of Hope Fund with the Baystate Health Foundation. The fund is in memory of their beloved daughter Lisa Calabrese, whose life was tragically lost after a long battle with an eating disorder.
Those interested in participating in the program, or learning more about it, can contact Jennifer McCaffrey at 794-6628.
For more information about research at Baystate Medical Center, visit baystatehealth.org/research