Asanas in prone posture and slow pranayamic breathing promote early recoveryand prevent post-recovery complications in COVID-19 patients: a preliminary study
Keywords:COVID-19, early recovery, prone asanas, slow, pranayamic, breathing, myocardial work stress, perceived stress scale, patient health questionnaire, psychosomatic stress
Introduction and Aim: Prone positioning has been reported to facilitate oxygenation in patients suffering from COVID-19, and improvement has been observed in cardiorespiratory functions following practice of asanas and pranayamas. We investigated the effects of prone asanas and slow pranayama on recovery from COVID-19 illness.
Methods: A study was conducted on six COVID-19 patients of varied age with different pre-existing comorbidities such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension, admitted to COVID-hospital. In addition to routine medical treatment, all the patients practiced the prone asanas and slow pranayamic breathing for a period of fourweeks (2 weeks ofhospital stay during the illness andtwo weeksof home quarantine following discharge from the hospital). The intensity of illness, days to recover, level of stress assessed by Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), degree of depression assessed by Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), myocardial work stress determined by rate-pressure product, and complications if any, were recorded. They were advised to continue the asana-pranayama practice for another four weeks during the entire recovery period.
Results:All the patients recovered smoothly from COVID-19 illness, their hospital stay was eventless, and the psychological stress, levels of depression and myocardial work stress due to COVID illness were reduced significantly by four-weeks practice of asana-pranayama schedule. Multiple regression demonstrated the association of decreased depression to decreased level of stress following asana-pranayama practice. There were no post-recovery complications during the one-month follow-up in the recovery period.
Conclusion: Practice of prone asanas and slow pranayama for four weeks facilitated the healing from COVID-19 illness, alleviated psycho-physical stress and depression, and prevented development of post-recovery complications in all the patients. The reduction in depression could be linked to the reduced stress level following asana-pranayama practice in COVID-19 patients.
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