A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that a unique breathing-based meditation practice called Sudarshan Kriya significantly reduced clinical depression and anxiety in patients who had not achieved remission on antidepressants. Since over half of the 41 million Americans who take antidepressants do not fully respond, the medical community seeks to add treatments, but they typically offer limited additional benefits and come with troubling side effects.
In this randomized controlled study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, study participants, some of whom had unsuccessfully been treated with up to four and more antidepressants, were randomized to either continue pharmaceutical treatment as usual (TAU) or to add Sudarshan Kriya yogic breathing (SKY) to their treatment regimen. In eight weeks, the SKY group achieved significant reductions in major depression and anxiety while the TAU group showed no improvement.
As to side effects, SKY has been shown to increase parasympathetic activity which is a basis for feelings of wellbeing, joy, serenity and happiness—side benefits associated with increased health and longevity. In contrast, antidepressants target reducing sympathetic/stress responses but don’t induce parasympathetic activity and its side benefits. For more information, visit Research.ArtOfLiving.org.