Title : Impact of a yogic breathing technique on the well-being of healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic
Project objective/background: The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges for health care providers (HCPs), resulting in stress related disorders, insomnia and burnout. Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY), a mind-body intervention, was explored as a tool to positively impact the well-being of HCPs during the pandemic.
Methods/approach: A pilot study with a single arm pre-post follow up design was conducted. SKY was taught to participants in a 4-day online workshop between the months of April & June 2020. Outcomes related to depression, anxiety, resilience, life satisfaction, & quality of sleep were measured using the following scales: Depression, Anxiety & Stress Scale, Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, Satisfaction With Life Scale & Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.
Results: 92 subjects completed the pre-post and 40 days assessment. A significant reduction was noted in the outcomes of stress, anxiety, depression, resilience, life satisfaction & quality of sleep immediately after the program (p= <0.001). At 40 days of practice, a significant improvement in resilience (p= 0.015) & life satisfaction (p= <0.001) was noted.
Conclusion: SKY demonstrated a positive impact on the well-being of healthcare professionals, even during the dire stresses of the pandemic. An improvement in both physical and mental health of the HCPs was seen.
A significant immediate reduction in stress, anxiety and depression was noted. In addition, sustained improvements in quality of sleep, satisfaction with life, and resilience was seen among those who practiced SKY. Interventions like SKY may serve as prudent low cost, high impact, easy to implement options for lowering stress & burnout amongst physicians.