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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 4 (2007), Issue 4, Pages 503-509
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem069
Original Article

Yoga Reduces Symptoms of Distress in Tsunami Survivors in the Andaman Islands

Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation (A Yoga University), # 19, Eknath Bhavan, Gavipuram Circle, K.G. Nagar, Bangalore 560 019, India

Received 1 January 2007; Accepted 8 May 2007

Copyright © 2007 Shirley Telles et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

A month after the December 2004 tsunami the effect of a 1 week yoga program was evaluated on self rated fear, anxiety, sadness and disturbed sleep in 47 survivors in the Andaman Islands. Polygraph recordings of the heart rate, breath rate and skin resistance were also made. Among the 47 people, 31 were settlers from the mainland (i.e. India, ML group) and 16 were endogenous people (EP group). There was a significant decrease in self rated fear, anxiety, sadness and disturbed sleep in both groups, and in the heart and breath rate in the ML group, and in the breath rate alone in the EP group, following yoga (P < 0.05, t-test). This suggests that yoga practice may be useful in the management of stress following a natural disaster in people with widely differing social, cultural and spiritual beliefs.