Recreation and leisure
By Phoebe Malone
I have been a prosthetist and orthotist for 14 years working with a wide range of amputees in both the public and private sector, nationally and internationally. I believe most facilities provide patients with fabulous care to assist with their mobility (physical rehabilitation) following an amputation, however there isn’t enough focus on their emotional and mental wellbeing (mental rehabilitation).
It is because of this that in 2018 I completed studies in “Amputee Yoga”, in addition to my regular yoga teaching qualifications. My amputee yoga trainer was Marsha Therese Danzig, a below knee amputee. Marsha is my inspiration to share this practice with all amputees and to assist you in finding wholeness after limb loss.
Marsha taught me that “"Wholeness is not simply having four limbs. Wholeness is knowing you are complete within yourself just as you are"
WHAT IS YOGA
There are many definitions of “yoga”, the word itself however means “union” or “connection”. Yoga is a way of connecting the body, mind and the breath. It provides us with the skills and space to build on our connection to life, to grow our awareness and acceptance of who we are, what we are and what ties us all together! In essence yoga is about making us feel whole and for amputees who have dealt with limb loss I believe this is crucial.
“The success of yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures, but in how it positively changes the way we live our lives and our relationships”. T.K.V Desikachar
BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR AN AMPUTEE
Yoga is a holistic medicine that works on increasing patient wellness without invasive procedures or excessive prescriptive medications. I believe it is a practice which allows the body and the mind to heal and can help make life better for amputees, especially as they grapple with prosthetics, body image, pain, freedom of movement and other residual effects of limb loss.
Pain management: For an amputee, having mechanisms to overcome pain is essential. Research is showing that yoga has increasingly positive outcomes to assist patients dealing with pain. Many amputees experience pain related not only the to the residual limb, but referred pain due to uncomfortable prosthetic fit, phantom pain, or pain in an overused part of the body. Yoga has shown that with the right exercises, breath work and movements, pain can be reduced.
HOW TO PRACTICE YOGA AS AN AMPUTEE
The most important thing for an amputee when practicing yoga is that they are safe and feel secure.
WHERE CAN I PRACTISE
Whether you have zero, one, two, three or four limbs, whether you are flexible or stiff, young or not so young, I believe yoga is for you!
If you are an amputee or a clinician and would like to chat with me about anything in this article please contact me through my website www.phoebemalone.yoga or call 0408026183