Mind Body Medicine
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Sahaja yoga in the management of moderate to severe asthma: a randomised controlled trial.
Authors Manocha R. Marks GB. Kenchington P. Peters D. Salome CM.
Institution Natural Therapies Unit, Royal Hospital for Women, NSW, Australia.
Source Thorax. 57(2):110-5, 2002 Feb.
Abstract BACKGROUND: Sahaja Yoga is a traditional system of meditation based on yogic principles which may be used for therapeutic purposes. A study was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of this therapy as an adjunctive tool in the management of asthma in adult patients who remained symptomatic on moderate to high doses of inhaled steroids. METHODS: A parallel group, double blind, randomised controlled trial was conducted. Subjects were randomly allocated to Sahaja yoga and control intervention groups. Both the yoga and the control interventions required the subjects to attend a 2 hour session once a week for 4 months. Asthma related quality of life (AQLQ, range 0-4), Profile of Mood States (POMS), level of airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine (AHR), and a diary card based combined asthma score (CAS, range 0-12) reflecting symptoms, bronchodilator usage, and peak expiratory flow rates were measured at the end of the treatment period and again 2 months later. RESULTS: Twenty one of 30 subjects randomised to the yoga intervention and 26 of 29 subjects randomised to the control group were available for assessment at the end of treatment. The improvement in AHR at the end of treatment was 1.5 doubling doses (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.0 to 2.9, p=0.047) greater in the yoga intervention group than in the control group. Differences in AQLQ score (0.41, 95% CI -0.04 to 0.86) and CAS (0.9, 95% CI -0.9 to 2.7) were not significant (p>0.05). The AQLQ mood subscale did improve more in the yoga group than in the control group (difference 0.63, 95% CI 0.06 to 1.20), as did the summary POMS score (difference 18.4, 95% CI 0.2 to 36.5, p=0.05). There were no significant differences between the two groups at the 2 month follow up assessment. CONCLUSIONS: This randomised controlled trial has shown that the practice of Sahaja yoga does have limited beneficial effects on some objective and subjective measures of the impact of asthma. Further work is required to understand the mechanism underlying the observed effectsand to establish whether elements of this intervention may be clinically valuable in patients with severe asthma.

The physiological correlates of Kundalini Yoga meditation: a study of a yoga master.
Authors Arambula P. Peper E. Kawakami M. Gibney KH.
Institution San Francisco State University, California, USA. petearambula@earthlink.net
Source Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback. 26(2):147-53, 2001 Jun.
Abstract This study explores the physiological correlates of a highly practiced Kundalini Yoga meditator. Thoracic and abdominal breathing patterns, heart rate (HR), occipital parietal electroencephalograph (EEG), skin conductance level (SCL), and blood volume pulse (BVP) were monitored during prebaseline, meditation, and postbaseline periods. Visual analyses of the data showed a decrease in respiration rate during the meditation from a mean of 11 breaths/min for the pre- and 13 breaths/min for the postbaseline to a mean of 5 breaths/min during the meditation, with a predominance of abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing. There was also more alpha EEG activity during the meditation (M = 1.71 microV) compared to the pre- (M = .47 microV) and postbaseline (M = .78 microV) periods, and an increase in theta EEG activity immediately following the meditation (M = .62 microV) compared to the pre-baseline and meditative periods (each with M = .26 microV). These findings suggest that a shift in breathing patterns may contribute to the development of alpha EEG, and those patterns need to be investigated further.

Breathing patterns and cardiovascular autonomic modulation during hypoxia induced by simulated altitude.
Authors Bernardi L. Passino C. Wilmerding V. Dallam GM. Parker DL. Robergs RA. Appenzeller O.
Institution Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pavia and IRCCS S. Matteo, Italy.
Source Journal of Hypertension. 19(5):947-58, 2001 May.
Abstract OBJECTIVE: To assess the influence of different breathing patterns on autonomic cardiovascular modulation during acute exposure to altitude-induced hypoxia. DESIGN: We measured relative changes in minute ventilation (VE), oxygen saturation (%SaO2), spectral analysis of RR interval and blood pressure, and response to stimulation of carotid baroreceptors (neck suction) at baseline and after acute (1 h) hypobaric hypoxia (equivalent to 5,000 m, in a hypobaric chamber). METHODS: We studied 19 human subjects: nine controls and 10 Western yoga trainees of similar age, while breathing spontaneously, at 15 breaths/min (controlled breathing) and during 'complete yogic breathing' (slow diaphragmatic + thoracic breathing, approximately 5 breaths/min) in yoga trainees, or simple slow breathing in controls. RESULTS: At baseline %SaO2, VE and autonomic pattern were similar in both groups; simulated altitude increased VE in controls but not in yoga trainees; %SaO2 decreased in all subjects (P< 0.0001), but more in controls than in yoga trainees (17 versus 12%, 14 versus 9%, 14 versus 8%, all P< 0.05 or better, during spontaneous breathing, controlled breathing and yogic or slow breathing, respectively). Simulated altitude decreased RR interval (from 879 +/- 45 to 770 +/- 39, P < 0.01) and increased indices deducted from spectral analysis of heart rate variability (low frequency/high frequency (LF/HF) ratio from 1.6 +/- 0.5 to 3.2 +/- 1.1, P < 0.05) and systolic blood pressure (low-frequency fluctuations from 2.30 +/- 0.31 to 3.07 +/- 0.24 In-mmHg2, P< 0.05) in controls, indicating sympathetic activation; these changes were blunted in yoga trainees, and in both groups during slow or yogic breathing. No effect of altitude was seen on stimulation of carotid baroreceptors in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Well-performed slow yogic breathing maintains better blood oxygenation without increasing VE (i.e. seems to be a more efficient breathing) and reduces sympathetic activation during altitude-induced hypoxia.

Aerobic capacity & perceived exertion after practice of Hatha yogic exercises.
Authors Ray US. Sinha B. Tomer OS. Pathak A. Dasgupta T. Selvamurthy W.
Institution Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences, Lucknow Road, Timarpur, Delhi 110054, India.
Source Indian Journal of Medical Research. 114:215-21, 2001 Dec.
Abstract BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Reports on the effect of yogic exercises on aerobic capacity are few. There is also no literature available on the effect of yogic exercise on perceived exertion (PE) after maximal exercise. In this study the effect of training in Hatha yogic exercises on aerobic capacity and PE after maximal exercise was observed. METHODS: Forty men from the Indian army (aged 19-23 yr) were administered maximal exercise on a bicycle ergometer in a graded work load protocol. The oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide output, pulmonary ventilation, respiratory rate, heart rate (HR) etc., at maximal exercise and PE score immediately thereafter were recorded. The subjects were divided into two equal groups. Twelve subjects dropped out during the course of study. One group (yoga, n = 17) practiced Hatha yogic exercises for 1 h every morning (6 days in a week) for six months. The other group (PT, n = 11) underwent conventional physical exercise training during the same period. Both groups participated daily in different games for 1 h in the afternoon. In the 7th month, tests for maximal oxygen consumption (VO2Max) and PE were repeated on both groups of subjects. RESULTS: Absolute value of VO2Max increased significantly (P < 0.05) in the yoga group after 6 months of training. The PE score after maximal exercise decreased significantly (P < 0.001) in the yoga group after 6 months but the PT group showed no change. INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSION: The practice of Hatha yogic exercises along with games helps to improve aerobic capacity like the practice of conventional exercises (PT) along with games. The yoga group performed better than the PT group in terms of lower PE after exhaustive exercise.

The effects of unilateral forced nostril breathing on the heart.
Authors Shannahoff-Khalsa DS. Kennedy B.
Institution Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego 92103-8341.
Source International Journal of Neuroscience. 73(1-2):47-60, 1993 Nov.
Abstract Three experiments are described that employ impedance cardiography to monitor the effects of unilateral forced nostril breathing (UFNB) on the heart. Experiment 1 includes 7 subjects (4 males, 3 females) with a respiratory rate of 6 breaths/min (BPM). Experiment 2 includes 16 trials using one subject to examine the intraindividual variability, at 6 BPM. Experiment 3 includes 10 trials with the same subject in experiment 2, but with a respiratory rate of 2-3 breaths/s. This rapid rate of respiration is a yogic breathing technique called "breath of fire" or "kapalabhatti" and employs a very shallow but rapid breath in which the abdominal region acts like a bellows. All 3 experiments demonstrated that right UFNB increases heart rate (HR) compared to left. Experiment 1 gave 7 negative slopes, or lowering in HR with left nostril breathing and 7 positive slopes, or increases in HR with right nostril breathing, p = .001. The second and third experiments showed differences in HR means in which right UFNB increases HR more than left, p = .013, p = .001, respectively. In experiment 2 stroke volume was higher with left UFNB, p = .045, compensating for lower HR. Left UFNB increased end diastolic volume as measured in both experiments 1 and 2, p = .006, p = .001, respectively. These results demonstrate a unique unilateral effect on sympathetic stimulation of the heart that may have therapeutic value.

Clinical case report: efficacy of yogic techniques in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorders.
Authors Shannahoff-Khalsa DS. Beckett LR.
Institution Research Group for Mind-Body Dynamics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0402, USA.
Source International Journal of Neuroscience. 85(1-2):1-17, 1996 Mar.
Abstract The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical efficacy of yogic techniques in the treatment of eight adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A specific yogic breathing pattern has been prescribed for the treatment of OCD, as well as others for treating generalized anxiety. A one year course of therapy was followed. Subjects improved on the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) comparing baseline with three, six, nine, & 12 month results (one-way ANOVA for repeated measures, F(4,12) = 3.343, p < or = .046). Five patients completed the study (Y-BOCS results were 83%, 79%, 65%, 61% improvement, and one at-18%), group mean improvement of +54%. The Symptoms Checklist-90-R showed significant improvement comparing baseline and 12 months using two-tailed T-tests for OCD (t = 13.856, p < .001), anxiety (t = 3.167, p < .051), and global severity indexes (t = 7.314, p = .005). Perceived Stress Scale scores showed significant improvement for the five test periods (one-way ANOVA for repeated measures, F(4,12) = 9.114, p < or = .001). Five patients were well stabilized on fluoxetine prior to the study, three stopped medication after seven months or less, and two significantly reduced it, one by 25% and the other by 50%. These techniques, merit further study under controlled conditions and could help lead to new approaches for the treatment of OCD and perhaps other impulse control and anxiety-related disorders.

Yoga-based guided relaxation reduces sympathetic activity judged from baseline levels.
Authors Vempati RP. Telles S.
Institution Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation, Chamarajpet, Bangalore, India.
Source Psychological Reports. 90(2):487-94, 2002 Apr.
Abstract 35 male volunteers whose ages ranged from 20 to 46 years were studied in two sessions of yoga-based guided relaxation and supine rest. Assessments of autonomic variables were made for 15 subjects, before, during, and after the practices, whereas oxygen consumption and breath volume were recorded for 25 subjects before and after both types of relaxation. A significant decrease in oxygen consumption and increase in breath volume were recorded after guided relaxation (paired t test). There were comparable reductions in heart rate and skin conductance during both types of relaxation. During guided relaxation the power of the low frequency component of the heart-rate variability spectrum reduced, whereas the power of the high frequency component increased, suggesting reduced sympathetic activity. Also, subjects with a baseline ratio of LF/HF > 0.5 showed a significant decrease in the ratio after guided relaxation, while subjects with a ratio < or = 0.5 at baseline showed no such change. The results suggest that sympathetic activity decreased after guided relaxation based on yoga, depending on the baseline levels.