As a yoga studio owner, you are well aware of the medical benefits of yoga. From mental health to physical health, yoga can help anyone find peace and relaxation while strengthening their bodies. Sometimes medical professionals forget that simple lifestyle additions, like yoga, can show major benefits to patients with health conditions. By taking the time to meet doctors and professionals, educate them on the benefits of yoga, and create a lasting partnership, you can help spread yoga to people who can benefit from it and also gain new clients.
Types of Medical Professionals to Partner With
When you mention the term “medical professionals”, most people think of doctors and nurses. These may be the most common professionals, but many other specialists work with patients that can benefit from a yoga practice.
Doctors and Nurses
There are several different specialties within medicine. Doctors tend to have one or two specialties. Nurses may work in a variety of specialties or focus on a single practice.
Typically, people first see a primary care physician. These doctors may have a family medicine, internal medicine, or general medicine practice. From there, primary care physicians can refer their patients to specialists, like endocrinologists (hormones and metabolism) or a gastroenterologist (digestive system).
Primary care physicians are the first line of defense for patients suffering from lifestyle-related conditions, such as obesity and high blood pressure. Since yoga is great for stress relief and building strength with low-impact movements, it helps treat these lifestyle-related conditions.
Due to the gentle nature of yoga classes, they are an excellent source of physical activity for those with injuries or those recovering from surgery. Doctors commonly refer pregnant women to yoga as a way to stay active without straining during pregnancy. Surgeons, gynecologists, orthopedic doctors, rheumatologists, and more specialists may understand why yoga is a beneficial recommendation for their patients.
They may be known for cracking backs, but chiropractors actually focus on the entire neuromuscular system. This means that they work on your bones, nerves, and connective tissue. Many people first go to a chiropractor for back pain and see that they can help with many musculoskeletal issues.
Since yoga is gentle and low-impact, the practice can greatly help someone suffering from nerve, joint, or muscle pain. Some chiropractors give their patients “homework” that includes yoga postures and slow movement. By working with a chiropractor, you can help their patients recover quicker from their ailments.
Physical therapists are like personal trainers that specialize in injury and illness recovery. You may not realize that to be a physical therapist, a practitioner must have a doctorate degree.
Depending on the severity of their condition, patients may see physical therapists infrequently or several times a week. Since physical therapists only have so much time with their patients, they may find that yoga is a helpful activity to continue the healing process.
Psychologists work in the field of human behavior, mental health, and emotions. Patients seek help from a psychologist if they are suffering from anxiety, depression, addiction, anger, and more conditions. In addition to meeting with patients and talking through symptoms, experiences, and emotions, psychologists also prescribe medications and lifestyle modifications.
Those suffering from severe mental health conditions cannot be cured with yoga alone. However, the focused breathing, relaxation practices, and gentle movement of yoga have been shown to help with mood, stress response, and mental health.
Pediatricians are primary care physicians that work with children. Yoga is typically not seen as a child’s activity, but there are no age requirements to practice yoga. Some studios offer children’s classes or allow kids to join their parents in a class.
For children suffering from ADHD and other behavioral issues, a pediatrician may recommend yoga. The practice can help promote calmness and stillness. Additionally, it is a form of movement that can help regulate a child’s emotions and feelings.
How to Build a Relationship with Medical Professionals
Especially if you’re more introverted, it can feel intimidating to walk into a practitioner or doctor’s office to introduce yourself. The staff is probably used to being approached by pharmaceutical representatives frequently. Try to look past the awkwardness and give it your best effort.
Introducing yourself in person can also be difficult because medical offices can be very busy during operating hours. However, in-person is the best way to have a memorable interaction with someone. Start by talking with the front desk staff. Ask if any of the medical professionals have time to talk. (It can be helpful to mention up front that you aren’t trying to sell anything.)
Have a business card or information packet ready in case the practitioners are too busy to chat. By preparing a physical document with your information, you’ll be prepared if you are not able to talk to anyone. If you can tell the office is busy or don’t want to impose on anyone’s time, you can just drop off the information and ask the staff to pass it along to the practitioner.
While it doesn’t hold the same weight as a personal interaction, e-mail is also a great way to get in touch with medical practitioners. If someone is checking their emails, it means that they have time to do so and are not being inconvenienced. In the email, introduce yourself and include all the information you’d like to share. Even if they don’t respond, they may remember what you’ve said.
Explain the Health Benefits of Yoga
Medical professionals are smart enough to understand the benefits of yoga, but it can help to put all the information out in front of them. Since the practice is generally slow-paced and low-impact, all fitness levels can participate and receive health benefits.
Some of the health benefits of yoga include:
- Relaxation and stress management
- Increased muscle strength and flexibility
- Lower blood pressure and heart rate
- Improved cardiovascular function
- Better balance
- Reduced inflammation
- Better posture
Invite Them to Try a Class
Whether you talk to someone in person or leave information for them at their office, make sure you include an invitation for a complimentary class at your studio. Not only does this show good faith, but it also allows them to experience the benefits for themselves. This also allows you to chat with them more about ways to work together.
Another option is to invite many local medical professionals to an exhibition event. Include a free yoga class and other activities or incentives. This allows you to discuss the benefits with several practitioners at once. If someone sees that other professionals are interested in partnering, they may be more inclined to partner as well.
Offer Special Deals
Use caution when offering a “kickback” to the medical professionals when recommending yoga (and specifically your studio) to their patients. There are ethical complications and most patients see this as bribery as opposed to a commission.
You can offer medical professionals a special discounted rate on classes and memberships for their patients. This allows them to help their patients heal or live healthier lives at a more affordable rate.
If the medical practitioner is interested and if they have several patients they think can benefit from yoga, you can set up personal classes at the studio or their office. This allows you to tailor the routines to best fit the needs of the patients.
There is no debate that yoga can help anyone lead a healthier life. By getting to know the medical professionals in your area, discussing the benefits of yoga, and working together to help their patients, you can spread yoga benefits to those who need it most. Find local doctors, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, psychologists, and pediatricians to see how you can best serve their patients. Even once an injury or illness has healed, you may end up with several lifelong members thanks to a referral from a medical professional.