About This Project
Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) is a standardized series of breathing techniques that has beneficial effects on the heart and the immune system (Brown et. al., 2005) in healthy and specific health-compromised populations. We wish to assess if SKY can be feasibly applied in patients with PTSD that are seen in the routine psychiatry clinic. Additionally, we will explore if SKY has a positive response on heart rate control and the immune stress response in these patients.
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What is the context of this research?
SKY has previously been found to ameliorate PTSD symptoms in survivors of natural disasters like the South East Tsunami as well as in war veterans https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p.... This will be the first study to investigate the feasibility of the SKY program for PTSD patients with a wider range of trauma experience including road traffic accidents, physical, emotional or sexual abuse or recurrent traumas over the lifespan. Additionally if SKY improves trauma induced changes in heart rate control as well as the immune system, it will confirm its holistic effects on the body.
What is the significance of this project?
PTSD affects as many as 9.7% of women and 5% of men at some point in their lives. Of these, 75-90% have an additional mental health condition such as anxiety and depression. Current treatment options include medications but they do not lead to recovery and often have adverse events. Psychotherapies are of help but are not easily available. Hence, newer treatment options are sorely needed. Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) is an easy to learn and readily available standardized and manualized practice that could be of benefit. If our results are positive, SKY could be considered as an effective treatment option.
What are the goals of the project?
We plan to conduct a single-center, open-label, longitudinal, empirical, feasibility trial of a 12 week intervention of SKY in thirty patients with PTSD. Patients recruited for this study will be allowed to stay on their prescribed psychotropic medications and/or psychotherapy. They will be offered a 12-week SKY intervention as an add-on therapy. This mind-body resilience building program will be taught to patients by Art of Living practitioners that have designed their program specifically for this patient population. The study is now ready to recruit and will be completed over spring and summer of 2017. We need crucial pilot data from this study to apply for subsequent grants with provincial and federal granting agencies in Fall 2017.
We need your support to partly fund some of the costs of the study. It costs $12 per visit to park a vehicle in the hospital and the participant is expected to visit the hospital 5 times during the 12 week study. Hence for 30 participants we ask for $1800 to cover the parking costs.
Meet the Team
Hello, my name is Jayneel Limbachia and I am a Research Assistant working with Dr. Kamini Vasudev and Dr. Akshya Vasudev. I am excited to be sharing our research that looks at non-pharmacological approaches in treating PTSD. I got into this field of study because of my passion for holistic medicine and because of the study's novel approach in mitigating some of the risks that affect our adult population on a grand scale. I am also excited to be working in a field of study that has scant clinical data and is often looked down upon in academic medicine in hopes of ending the stigma around non-pharmacological therapies.
Hello, I am a clinician-scientist psychiatrist with research interests in the neurobiological basis of mental illness and the role of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions such as Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) to improve health across the disease and age span. My research utilizes sophisticated neuroimaging, cardiovascular autonomics, inflammation and cognition measures. Having noticed improvement in my own physical and mental well-being using meditation and SKY, my life time goal is now to better understand and research the extent of response with these interventions using the best techniques currently available to science.
Hi, I am a General Adult Psychiatrist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine. I am also the academic portfolio lead on the Psychiatry Residency Program Committee. My academic interests include non-pharmacological interventions for mental illnesses, psychopharmacology, physical health issues in severe mental illness, residents training and quality improvement. In my clinical practice, I treat a variety of mental disorders including post traumatic stress disorder. I endeavour to enhance patient care by finding novel ways to support complete remission and improve quality of life.
Leslyle Moore, National Director - Project Welcome Home Troops:
The transformation I witness while teaching the trauma reduction workshop to Veterans stuns me every time. Veterans come on to the Power Breath Meditation Workshop carrying the burden of post-traumatic stress, survivor’s guilt, and blame - they leave standing a little taller, looking more alive, talking about their future, broad smiles on their faces; expressing feelings of relief, forgiveness, and a renewed sense of hope and purpose. They sleep better, their anxiety ebbs, they begin to emotionally connect with themselves and others for the first time in years. It’s priceless. Documenting the benefits of this program for civilians who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress holds enormous potential for ending suffering and empowering people to live life fully once again.
Anup Sharma (MD, PhD, Depart. Of Neuropsychiatry U. Penn):
Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) is a promising breathing-based meditation intervention for patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Initial studies in both mood and anxiety disorders suggest that this intervention has significant promise in relieving symptoms of trauma-based anxiety and depression both as a primary treatment and as an add-on therapy. Efforts to raise funding for additional research on SKY are valuable in order to generate the critical pilot data that is needed to subsequently apply for grants through the National Institutes of Health
Emma Seppala, PhD, Yale co-director of the Emotional Intelligence Project, Director of Stanford for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education:
Our longitudinal study suggests that SKY can reduce anxiety in veterans with PTSD. It is a brief, cost-effective and highly potent intervention that should definitely be researched further
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