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Evaluation of a Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) based breath intervention for patients with mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety disorders

Hamilton-West, Kate, Pellatt-Higgins, Tracy, Sharief, Farnaaz (2019) Evaluation of a Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) based breath intervention for patients with mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety disorders. Primary Health Care Research and Development, 20 . ISSN 1463-4236. E-ISSN 1477-1128. (doi:10.1017/S1463423619000045) (KAR id:71994)

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Aim: Research identifies a need for expanded therapeutic options for people with mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety disorders treated within the UK National Health Service (NHS). We aimed to examine potential benefits of a Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) based breath intervention delivered in this context.

Background: SKY is a structured programme derived from yoga in which participants are taught relaxation and stress-management techniques including body postures, breathing exercises and cognitive-behavioural procedures. Previous research has demonstrated benefits for patients with clinical and non-clinical depression and anxiety. However, SKY has not yet been evaluated as a therapeutic option for patients accessing NHS primary care mental health services.

Methods: We evaluated an existing programme available to NHS patients in South East England. The intervention is community-based and delivered via four weekly ‘stress buster sessions’ (1-hour duration), one weekend intensive workshop (2.5 days) and four weekly (90 minute) follow-up sessions. Analyses were conducted on existing data (measures of depression [PHQ9] and anxiety [GAD7]) collected as part of routine care, at the start of the programme and three follow-up assessments.

Findings: Baseline data were available for 991 participants, of which 557 (56.2%) attended at least 3 weekly workshops, 216 (21.8%) attended the weekend workshop and 169 (17.1%) completed the programme. Statistically significant (p<.05) improvements in depression and anxiety were observed in all three outcome assessments. Clinically meaningful change was observed for 74.6% of participants completing the programme. Findings indicate that SKY has the potential to benefit patient outcomes and could be offered more widely as a therapeutic option. We recommend further research to explore patients’ experiences of the programme, determine the number of sessions necessary for improvement/ recovery, define the population most likely to respond and examine potential cost savings (e.g. reductions in antidepressant prescribing/ referrals to secondary care).

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S1463423619000045
Uncontrolled keywords: Anxiety; Breath; Depression; Mental Health; Primary Care; Yoga
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Kate Hamilton-West
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2019 12:49 UTC
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 03:18 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Hamilton-West, Kate:
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