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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 48-52

Effect of yoga and panchakarma therapy on psychophysiological variables: A pilot study


1 Department of Scientific Research, Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Ayurveda/Health Care Centre, Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication7-Dec-2017

Correspondence Address:
Anita Verma
Department of Scientific Research, Kaivalyadhama, Swami Kuvalayananda Marg, Lonavla, Pune - 410 403, Maharashtra
India
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DOI: 10.4103/ym.ym_18_17

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  Abstract 

Background of the Study: Yoga and Ayurveda are two interrelated traditional Indian sciences which have been found to be complementary to each other when administered together. Panchakarma is a specific procedure in ayurvedic science for purification and detoxification of the body. It leads to expulsion of toxins from the body with the help of five therapeutic treatment procedures, i.e., vamana, virechana, basti, nasya, and raktamokshana.
Objective of the Study: The objective was to assess the effect of yoga and panchakarma therapy on psychophysiological variables in participants visiting health-care center, Kaivalyadhama.
Method: Nine Japanese study participants (average age: 48.8 years) were selected to validate the outcomes of yoga and panchakarma therapy on physiological, biochemical, and psychological variables. At the baseline, lipid profile and body composition analyses were done, and the World Health Organization Quality-of-Life questionnaire was administered. After completion of 2 weeks of yoga and panchakarma therapy, posttest was conducted. Percentage-wise analysis was done to analyze the findings of the study.
Results: The results revealed 7.1%, 10.87%, 9.78%, and 10% reduction in cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein, and very low-density lipoprotein, respectively. There was an improvement in fat mass (9.3%), body mass index (3.77%), and fat-free mass (2.28%). Quality of life on all the domains, i.e., physical health (33.49%), psychological health (12.78%), social relationships (8.87%), and environment (12.74%) showed considerable improvement after 2 weeks of yoga and panchakarma therapy.
Conclusion: Yoga and panchakarma therapy given at Kaivalyadhama is extremely effective in restoring physical, mental, and emotional well-being of an individual.

Keywords: Ayurveda, lipid profile, panchakarma, quality of life, yoga


How to cite this article:
Verma A, Shete SU, Doddoli GR. Effect of yoga and panchakarma therapy on psychophysiological variables: A pilot study. Yoga Mimamsa 2017;49:48-52

How to cite this URL:
Verma A, Shete SU, Doddoli GR. Effect of yoga and panchakarma therapy on psychophysiological variables: A pilot study. Yoga Mimamsa [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Dec 10];49:48-52. Available from: http://www.ym-kdham.in/text.asp?2017/49/2/48/220186


  Introduction Top


Yoga is an ancient traditional Indian science, which is a mind and body practice including physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. Yoga helps in maintaining physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of a person. Yoga therapy helps in the treatment of disorders of various body systems such as cardiovascular system, respiratory system, digestive system, circulatory system, excretory system, urinary system, reproductive system, endocrine system, and musculoskeletal system (Kuvalayananda, 1993; Bray, 1997; Drent & van der Ven, 1995; Mathew, Francis, Kayalar & Cone, 2008; Zdziarski, Wasser & Vincent, 2015; Smith, Sumar & Dixon, 2014; Thakker & Kariya, 2014; Halsted, 1999). Ayurveda is a traditional medical science of India which involves a comprehensive system of natural medicines which treat body and mind as a whole. In Ayurveda, the root cause of a disease is treated along with symptoms and improves the immunity of the body with virtually no side effects. Thus, Ayurveda is a health promotive, preventive, and curative therapy (Ravishankar & Shukla, 2007). The basic principle of Ayurveda is to rejuvenate and preserve the health of the healthy and alleviate the disease of the sick, i.e., (Tripathi, 1983).

Swastasya swasth rakshanam/Aturasya vikarprashamanch (Charaka Su. 30/26).



Yoga and Ayurveda are two interrelated traditional Indian sciences which have been found to be complementary to each other when administered together. Further, panchakarma is a specific procedure in ayurvedic science for purification and detoxification of the body. It leads to expulsion of toxins from the body with the help of five therapeutic treatment procedures, i.e., vamana, virechana, basti, nasya, and raktamokshana. These procedures help in the removal of deep-rooted stress and disease-causing toxins from the body along with balancing the doshas. The patient is administered either one of the procedures or a combination of procedures. Fundamental panchakarma therapy involves the following procedures:

  1. Preparatory stage: Oleation (snehan) and steam (sudation). Oleation is further divided into internal and external. Internal oleation is given in the form of medicated ghee or oil for consumption in different forms while external oleation involves different types of massages
  2. Pradhan karma/main treatment: It is the process of detoxification by one of the panchakarma procedures as per the patient's medical needs
  3. Paschat karma-rasayan/rejuvenation is done after the main treatment: This includes diet recommendations, lifestyle modifications, and simple ayurvedic supplements.


Yoga and panchakarma therapies are becoming increasingly popular across the world. There are several studies conducted showing the efficacy of yoga, Ayurveda, and panchakarma therapy in improving the quality of life, cardiovascular health, and body composition (Woodyard, 2011; Barrows & Fleury, 2016; Bera & Rajapurkar, 1993). This suggests that yoga improves the quality of life as well as physiological functions of a yogic practitioner. However, the combination of yoga and panchakarma therapy has been understudied in the present times (Conboy, Edshteyn & Garivaltis, 2009). Nevertheless, yoga and panchakarma therapy at Kaivalyadhama has been found to be effective qualitatively as per the feedback received from the participants; however, this has no scientific validation. Perceiving this aspect, it was planned to conduct a pilot study to substantiate the effect of yoga and panchakarma therapy on quality of life, cardiovascular health, and body composition in participants visiting health-care center, Kaivalyadhama.


  Method Top


Annually, approximately 1000 patients register for yoga and panchakarma therapy at Kaivalyadhama Yogic Hospital and Healthcare Centre, Lonavla. After medical consultation, the patient undergoes yoga and panchakarma therapy by highly experienced and well-trained therapists of Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute. Therefore, a pilot study was planned to validate the outcomes of yoga and panchakarma therapy on physiological, biochemical, and psychological aspects in nine Japanese study participants (average age: 48.8 years). The participants were informed about the research study and written informed consent was obtained at the outset of the study. At the baseline, lipid profile and body composition analyses were done, and the World Health Organization Quality-of-Life (WHO-QOL) questionnaire was administered.

Assessment

Lipid profile was assessed by drawing overnight fasting venous blood sample (5 mL) collected in a vacutainer from the antecubital vein of the arm. Serum cholesterol, triglyceride, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) were measured using clinical chemistry analyzer (Vector, Vchem) and enzymatic techniques, whereas low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and very LDL (VLDL) were determined using Friedewald's equation (Friedewald, Levy & Fredrickson, 1972). Fat mass, body mass index (BMI), and fat-free mass were measured using BCA-916 analyzer. Quality of life was assessed by administering the WHO-QOL-BREF questionnaire which has four domains, i.e., physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and environment. After pretests, the study participants underwent yoga and panchakarma therapy for 2 weeks. Posttest was conducted after completion of 2 weeks of therapy. The details of yoga and panchakarma therapy have been demonstrated in [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]. In the present study, the sample size was less; therefore, percentage-wise analysis was used.
Table 1: Yogic therapy

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Table 2: Panchakarma therapy design

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Table 3: Panchakarma therapy

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  Results Top


The results of this pilot study have been presented in [Table 4] which shows highly promising and encouraging results in almost all the selected parameters. The results revealed 7.1%, 10.87%, 9.78%, and 10% reduction in cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL, and VLDL, respectively. Further, HDL showed a nonsignificant but positive shift of 0.89%. Moreover, there was a decrease in fat mass (9.3%), BMI (3.77%), and fat-free mass (2.28%). Furthermore, quality of life on all the domains, i.e., physical health (33.49%), psychological health (12.78%), social relationships (8.87%), and environment (12.74%) showed considerable improvement after 2 weeks of yoga and panchakarma therapy.
Table 4: Biochemical variables, quality of life, and physiological variables before and after yoga and panchakarma therapy

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  Discussion Top


The results of this pilot study showed considerable improvement in quality of life, lipid profile, and body composition. This proves the efficacy of integrated yoga and panchakarma therapy, which can be implemented to restore psycho-physiological health of individuals.

Improvement in quality of life was achieved in 2 weeks of yoga and panchakarma therapy. Asana and pranayama practices included in the intervention might have reduced the stress levels and thus helped in improving the quality of life (Shankarapillai, Nair & George, 2012; Chong, Tsunaka, Tsang, Chan & Cheung, 2011). This indicates that intervention used in the present study might have had a significant effect on calming of mind. In fact, all the four domains of quality of life, i.e., physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and environment showed significant changes over a period of 2 weeks of intervention. This implies that yoga and panchakarma therapy is effective in improving physical and mental well-being (Büssing, Michalsen, Khalsa, Telles & Sherman, 2012; Ray, et al., 2001). Earlier studies also showed similar results indicating the efficacy of yoga and panchakarma therapy in improving the quality of life (Tekur, Chametcha, Hongasandra & Raghuram, 2010; Yagli & Ulger, 2015; Deshpande, Shivakumar, Kavita, Tripathy & Chaturvedi, 2016).

The present study showed significant changes in cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL, and VLDL in 2 weeks of yoga and panchakarma therapy. These changes might have resulted due to gentle massaging of internal organs and improved metabolism due to yoga therapy (Kuvalayananda, 1993; Shantakumari, Sequeira & El Deeb, 2013; Gadham, Sajja & Rooha, 2015). Moreover, panchakarma therapy has also been found to be effective in maintaining cardiovascular health (Patil, Baghel & Thakar, 2009; Gupta, et al., 2012). Thus, the results obtained in this study are in line with earlier research reports (Mamtani & Mamtani, 2005; Bharshankar, Bharshankar, Deshpande, Kaore & Gosavi, 2003).

Further, an improvement in body composition was also evident due to yoga and panchakarma therapy and yogic diet followed during the 2 weeks of intervention. In fact, it is evident from the past studies that panchakarma therapy removes toxins from the body and improves metabolism that result in decrease of body fat percentage, BMI, and fat-free mass (Thatte, et al., 2015). Yogic practices also showed similar results in obese individuals (Chauhan, Semwal, Mishra & Semwal, 2017; Pal, et al., 2011). Thus, the integrative therapy of yoga and panchakarma has been found to be more effective in restoring and improving the quality of life, cardiovascular health, and body fat. However, additional research is warranted to validate the findings of this study on a larger sample size with randomized controlled trial for a longer duration.


  Conclusion Top


Yoga and panchakarma therapy at Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute has been found to be extremely effective in improving the quality of life, cardiovascular health, and body fat. It is recommended that integrative therapy of yoga and panchakarma may be followed for at least 2 weeks or more to achieve significant positive changes in psycho-physiological variables.

Acknowledgment

The authors are grateful to Swamiji Maheshanandji, Director of Research, Kaivalyadhama, and Shri O. P. Tiwariji, Secretary, Kaivalyadhama, S. M. Y. M. Samiti, and Shri Subodh Tiwari, CEO, for giving constant encouragement to complete research activities. Authors are also thankful to Dr. Jagdish Bhutada for his expert advise in Panchakarma. Also, we would like to thank all the therapists of Ayurveda & Panchakarma, Kaivalyadhama for the therapies administered with utmost love and care.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



 

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