Research on Sudarshan Kriya for Depression
Updated: Nov 15, 2018
Summary of research studies on Sudarshan Kriya in peer-reviewed journals
More than a dozen published studies have documented significant relief from depression in individuals who learned and practiced Sudarshan Kriya and accompanying breathing techniques (SKY). These studies have demonstrated a 67-73% success rate in relief from depression, regardless of the severity of depression[1-6].
These results are experienced rapidly, often within 3-4 weeks [1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8].And unlike conventional treatments, there is uniform rapid relief from depression with SKY practice, regardless of how long a person has been suffering from clinical depression or the degree to which brain ‘dysfunction’ (e.g., abnormal EEG patterns or hormone levels)[4, 5] is found in the depressed individual.
Further, SKY has been found to significantly stem ‘the blues’; the non-clinical melancholy that mainstream people commonly experience.[9, 10]
Highlights of research findings:
Remission from depression is experienced rapidly.
Substantial relief was experienced in three weeks.[5, 8]
By one month, individuals were considered to be in remission. [1, 2, 4-7]
At three months, the individuals remained asymptomatic and stable, which demonstrates results persisted and cannot be considered a placebo effect.[3-6, 11] (Placebo effects in depression wane after 4 weeks).
SKY produced highly beneficial biological effects on brain and hormone function.
The P300 ERP EEG brainwave pattern and NREM brainwave pattern, which measure electrical brainwave activity and are abnormal in many depressed people, returned to the normal range by ninety days. [4, 5]
Return to healthier hormone levels
Plasma prolactin, a well-being hormone which is believed to be a key factor in producing depression relief, increased significantly after the very first SKY session.
Levels of plasma cortisol (the stress hormone) decreased significantly after three weeks.
As effective as anti-depressant medication
In a comparison study, the SKY was statistically as effective as the conventional anti-depressant medication. Yet, in contrast to the usual treatments for depression, the SKY is natural and free of unwanted side effects. It is self-administered and self-empowering. It can greatly reduce doctor and hospital caseloads, thus making SKY cost effective and staff effective as well .
Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, at NIMHANS, reported: “SKY has remarkable therapeutic effects.”
Dr. Janakiramaiah, M.D., Ph.D., D.P.H., medical researcher, and Chair of Psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (N.I.M.H.A.N.S.) of India has conducted several of these studies. He concluded that the Sudarshan Kriya has “remarkable therapeutic effects” and “is clinically feasible and effective. It has the potential to become a first-line treatment of dysthymic [chronic, mild depression] patients and possibly in mild and moderate forms of major depressive disorder."[1, 3]