Yoga and Quality of Life – research

I love RT Wise Owls.

Temple provides a great site with research.

Today, research was posted on the Effect of Yoga on Quality of Life in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis.

It was written by:

Kristen McCrane, 4+1 Accelerated BS in Therapeutic Recreation to MS in Recreation Therapy Student,

Pei-Chun Hsieh, PhD, CTRS, Assistant Professor, Temple University, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Recreation Therapy Program,

Read the article at this Temple – RT Wise Owls link:

ATRA opening general session:


Photo: Dawn Devries (current president of ATRA) and Dr. Aaron Bunnel

Dawn DeVries, the current President of ATRA had spoken during the opening general session.

She had several people to stand in the audience for recognition, including:

  • Peg Connolly student scholarship winners
  • All students that were in attendance (and there were many of them)
  • The ATRA Board of Directors – what a wonderful group of people. They are from all over the United States, in places like: Virginia, Illinois, Georgia, and New Mexico.
  • The President of the Canada Therapeutic Recreation Association was present!
  • There were internal guests too from not only Canada, but Japan as well.


The Keynote address:

The Keynote address was given by Dr. Aaron Bunnel from Harborview Medical Center and University of Washington.

His story: he took a year off before going to med school.

He woke up from sleeping on the beach with his friends (at age 22). He ran and dived in the water and suffered a neck injury that paralyzed him. His friends thought he was playing around while he was drowning in the water. He couldn’t move. He wondered about how he would live and if he could still go to Med School and do the things he wanted to do.

He was grateful for recovery but was also stuck at home with little to do.

He had love for nature, friends, competition, and endurance.

He didn’t have a rec therapist during his initial rehab.

He said physical therapy worked well. It was just hard and painful.

I [Danny Pettry] know PT is painful things. I had PT when I was young after dislocated my shoulder form a skateboarding accident. I’m very lucky I dislocated my shoulder and not my neck.

He said there is only so much PT one can do in a day.

He worked at getting back to life. – he couldn’t g hiking and nature or do mountain climbing too well at first. Kicked soccer ball around some, started golf.

With time he increased endurance and strength and decreased his pain!

Danny Pettry comments: Way to go active lifestyle!

He still had the desire to become a doctor. It was his dream and passion

He used adaptive recreation to get back to life: cycling, yoga, swimming.

Benefits for him: decreased falls, better sleep.

He decided to go for med school and it worked out. He did the 30-hour shifts required.

Now – maintaining functioning abilities as he aged. He didn’t want to be on couch at age 60. He wanted to make sure he’d still be working.

Photos before accident – grinning and smiling

After incident – didn’t’ smile too much

A little while later – after adaptive sports – smiling again.

Exercise is good!

He cited benefits of physical activity:

  • Reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke. No medication can get that result
  • Reduce risk of mood disorders, depression
  • Reduce risk of cognitive decline
  • Less pain
  • Increase strength
  • Increase quality of life



Adaptive sports are beneficial:

Those people with disabilities that participate in adaptive sports are twice as likely as the general populate to be employed!


So what is the strongest predictor that a person is in adaptive sports one year after incident? It is the number of therapeutic recreation sessions during inpatient physical rehab.


There are also positive associations and social integration with adaptive sports.


Dr. Aaron Bunnel argues that recreational therapy hasn’t been given its due.

“Recreation is fun! Social bias kicks in.”

“but it is serious, too”


Dr. Aaron Bunnel argued the importance of advocating our profession.

  • He discussed H.R. 1906 Act of 2015, which will give access to inpatient rehab treatment to more people. It would restore reliance on the professional judgement of a physician. Write your representative.
  • Advocate our profession to get our voice heard.
  • Educate physicians about outcomes of our services and how it increases (good benefits) and decreases (bad target symptoms).
  • Join ATRA. Please note that, I [Danny Pettry] am a lifetime member of ATRA.
  • Provide hospitals with educational seminars
  • Build on the evidence because policy is influenced by this.
  • Work towards advanced degrees – doctoral or masters. I, Danny Pettry have two graduate degrees – rec therapy and mental health counseling. He argued your graduate degree could be in a similar field as well.
  • Keep at it. Be persistent and don’t give up

He said research is a great way to advocate for what we do.


He validated that what we do is important and really matters .


My thoughts about Dr. Aaron Bunnel:

Here is a guy who could have easily given up and used all the excuses in the book for not trying.

However, he was determined, persistent, had dreams and passions. He didn’t give up.

He got back to functioning through adaptive sports and he went on to become a doctor and does so much more! What a great guy! Glad I got to hear his talk today.

Temple University – RT Wise Owls!

Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) had a vendor booth at the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) conference in Chicago!

I picked up a neat flyer that advertises their RT Wise Owls.

It is a free database of information with evidenced-based research that is relevant to the scope of Recreational Therapy practice.

Here are the facts that the handout included:

  • 250+ research summaries related to RT practice
  • Explanation of the knowledge translation action cycle to help RTs learn how to conduct their own evidence-based practice literature review
  • Contains links to over 70 evidence-based practice search engines, webinars, and outcome measurements.

Danny Pettry: this is absolutely one of the best resources for recreational therapists out there.

You can follow RT Wise Owls email updates by going to their web-page and singing up for email updates:

NOTE: I didn’t see Heather Porter (Temple University), but I know she’ll be at the conference because she is presenting. I am going to attend her session. I did see her books at the Idyll Arbor vendor booth:

  • Recreational Therapy Basics, Techniques and Interventions
  • Recreational Therapy and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health
  • Recreational Therapy for Specific Diagnoses and Conditions.

Some Things I Appreciate about the Internet

Submitted by: David R. Austin, Ph.D., FDRT, FALS, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University

In no particular order, here are some things that I appreciate about the Internet. Having the ability to:

  • Make RT courses and degree programs available online. The availability of online offerings for practitioners is a particularly meaningful advancement.
  • Give practitioners the opportunity to keep up-to-date by taking webinars, such as those offered by ATRA.
  • Offer practitioners opportunities to gain CEUs offered by providers such as Danny
  • Gain daily online reports from the federal government on health care research.
  • Exchange information with RT colleagues via the listserv RecreationalTherapynet
  • Gain access to the latest published research in a wide array of scholarly journals including the American Journal of Recreation Therapy and Therapeutic Recreation Journal. (I especially like having access to Google Scholar as a means to locate and access articles.)
  • Receive information (e.g., ATRA Newsletter) from our national and state professional associations.
  • Check publishers (e.g., Sagamore Publishing, Idyll Arbor) websites for books available on recreational therapy.
  • Publish and read recreational therapy blogs, such as the RT Blog at
  • Post and read RT information on social media, such as Facebook.
  • Exchange information and ideas with colleagues using email.


  • Give students, faculty, and RTs access to RT related videos, such as the Recreation Therapy Videos offered as a free service by the Indiana University Library’s Scholarworks.
  • Offer free access to the Glossary of Recreation Therapy and Occupational Therapy through Indiana University’s Scholarworks.

Looking for RT Evidence-Based Practice? Go to RT Wise Owls!


Submitted by: Heather R. Porter, Ph.D., CTRS

As healthcare providers, it is imperative to stay up-to-date on current research and best practices; and update our clinical approaches and interventions accordingly. This requires the consistent reading of journal articles related to one’s area of practice, reflective thought regarding the findings, and incorporation of the findings as appropriate into clinical practice, referred to as Evidence-Based Practice (EBP).

Healthcare agencies are increasingly demanding the utilization of EBP to strengthen outcomes and improve services. Insurance companies are also beginning to request literature that supports the efficacy of interventions and tying this to reimbursement.

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are the most sought after literature to justify the efficacy of interventions. In a systematic review, all of the studies on a particular intervention are synthesized to determine the current state-of-the-art regarding the intervention (e.g., common outcomes and themes found throughout the studies). A meta-analysis also synthesizes findings from all of the studies on a particular intervention, but it utilizes statistical methods to combine the results from all of the studies to determine the state-of-the-art regarding the intervention.

Recreational therapists can find systematic reviews and meta-analyses, as well as additional types of research studies, on RT Wise Owls (www.rtwiseowls). RT Wise Owls is a free open-access database and information resource center developed by the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at Temple University that contains evidence-based research and resources relevant to the scope of recreational therapy practice. Here are a few quick facts about the site:


  • Currently contains 184 research summaries and journal articles related to RT practice and more are being added regularly.
  • Provides an explanation of the Knowledge Translation Action Cycle to help RTs learn how to conduct their own evidence-based practice literature review.
  • Contains links to over 70 evidence-based practice search engines, webinars, and outcome measurement sites to help you find additional information to strengthen your evidence-based practice knowledge and skills.


*** More information will continually be added to RT Wise Owls, so be sure to “follow” us by entering your email address on the webpage. If you do this, you will receive notifications of new posts by email.

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