April is Occupational Therapy Month. If you’re like most people, you think of Occupational Therapy as important or useful exclusively to individuals who are recovering from an injury or illness. And while it’s true that OT professionals are dedicated to improving the lives of those suffering from a variety of ailments, getting them back to work and the activities they love, we’re also committed to preventive care…helping individuals stay well, and avoid the pitfalls of aches and pains…including those incurred from their habits at work.
Sitting at a desk for eight hours-a-day, five days-a-week, can really take its toll on the body…tight shoulders, stiff necks and sore hips and backs can strike millennials and baby boomers alike.
To help combat these issues, Occupational Therapists with a yoga background may integrate yoga practices to offer easy and accessible preventive wellness habits, including desk yoga for office workers.
Here are some that you can try! The following exercises take little time, can be done right at your desk (or while sitting in traffic or standing in line) and can reap big benefits for your body, stress levels and mental focus when performed regularly.
The videos below focus on healthy postural alignment…engaging and elongating muscles. Remember to breathe through every movement, and never do anything that causes discomfort or pain (or that goes against any medical advice you’ve been given). You may find it helpful to set a timer when at your desk, every 30 -60 minutes, to remind yourself to re-engage these muscles.
If you would like more information about occupational therapy as a career, go to aota.org
Occupational therapists help people do the things they want to do with more independence when there has been an illness, injury or circumstance that interrupts their life. If this sounds like the career for you, please see visit our Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) or Occupational Therapist (MOT) educational degree programs at Baker College.
Dr. Susan Tons is passionate about combining her career in occupational therapy with the practice of yoga. Susan has always loved learning new things. Her practice as an occupational therapist led her to complete a Masters degree in Family Studies/Health Education and her rehabilitation work with patients with upper extremity injuries led her to get her credential as a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT).
In her current role as a Professor in the Masters Of Occupational Therapy Program at Baker College Center for Graduate Studies, she entered a program in higher education and adult learning at Michigan State University where she earned her PhD in 2011. Susan’s personal practice of yoga also facilitated a desire to learn and she initiated training to become a yoga instructor in 2004 which culminated in being a Registered Yoga Instructor (Yoga alliance RYT 200). She currently teaches approximately 4 yoga classes per week and periodically teaches anatomy in Yoga Teacher Trainings.