A systematic review of mind and body complementary health practices for informal caregivers


  • Alysha A. Walter, MS, CTRS
  • Marieke Van Puymbroeck, PhD, CTRS, FDRT
  • Jasmine Townsend, PhD, CTRS
  • Sandra M. Linder, PhD
  • Arlene A. Schmid, PhD, OTR




complementary health practices, mind and body practices, informal caregivers, systematic review, recreational therapy


This systematic review examined available literature on mind and body complementary health practices for informal caregivers (ICG). The United States Department of Health and Human Services defines mind and body complementary health practices as acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic osteopathic manipulation, healing touch, hypnotherapy, guided imagery, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, Rolfing Structural Integration, Feldenkrais method, Alexander technique, and Trager psychophysical integration. Literature related to these mind and body practices were searched using PubMed, Elton B. Stephens Co. (EBSCO), and Google Scholar databases. The screening process resulted in 220 sources that appeared for the search terms “ICG” and each of the mind and body practices. Four yoga manuscripts met the final inclusion criteria. While the level of evidence for ICG is weak generally, examples of improvements after yoga participation included reduced depression levels and state anxiety, and improvement in physical fitness. Implications for recreational therapy practice are discussed.

Author Biographies

Alysha A. Walter, MS, CTRS

College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Marieke Van Puymbroeck, PhD, CTRS, FDRT

College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Jasmine Townsend, PhD, CTRS

College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Sandra M. Linder, PhD

College of Education, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Arlene A. Schmid, PhD, OTR

Department of Occupational Therapy, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado


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How to Cite

Walter, MS, CTRS, A. A., Van Puymbroeck, PhD, CTRS, FDRT, M., Townsend, PhD, CTRS, J., Linder, PhD, S. M., & Schmid, PhD, OTR, A. A. (2017). A systematic review of mind and body complementary health practices for informal caregivers. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 16(3), 29–35. https://doi.org/10.5055/ajrt.2017.0138




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