Objective: Increasingly, yoga is among the therapies included in recommended multimodal treatment approaches for persons with fibromyalgia. Given the numerous yoga lineages, styles, practice components, and the relatively scant empirical evidence of the effectiveness of yoga therapy for persons diagnosed with fibromyalgia, rigorous studies are needed to support these recommendations. The development of sound methodological designs and protocols to ensure study rigor, enhance replication potential, and synthesize results across studies for establishing evidence-based best practices is needed. Thus, this article presents the design and protocol used in an 8-week intervention study aimed at determining the feasibility of restorative yoga as an appropriate intervention for persons diagnosed with fibromyalgia. A secondary aim was to collect preliminary data on the perceived effects of restorative yoga to inform future fibromyalgia yoga therapy research.
Method: Using a prospective, mixed-methods, single-arm design, the investigators assessed the feasibility of an 8-week restorative yoga intervention for persons diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Twelve (12) persons with physiciandiagnosed fibromyalgia took part in twice weekly, 90-minute restorative yoga group classes and a 20-minute home practice on the five non-class evenings. The Theory of Planned Behavior informed the study design. Quantitative findings for feasibility included recruitment, study completion, and adherence rates during the 8-week intervention and at a 1-month follow-up. These findings were corroborated by qualitative findings from semi-structured pre- and post-intervention interviews. Data regarding the perceived effects of restorative yoga were collected using self-report questionnaires at intervention baseline and at weeks 4 and 8.
Discussion: The study protocol provides a template for future feasibility studies of restorative yoga for persons diagnosed with musculoskeletal conditions, and one that can inform future yoga intervention studies aimed at identifying the most efficacious and feasible yoga style(s) for persons diagnosed with fibromyalgia.