24 October 2010
By Anuradha Mascarenhas
City Anchor Experts From National AIDS Research Institute Plan Year–Long Study, Art Of Living Tutors To Provide Training
IF LIVING with HIV is a daily struggle against anxiety and fatigue, scientists at National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) are looking to alleviate some of their miseries by exposing them to the Art of Living's Sudarshan Kriya (breathing exercise).
A year–long scientific study has been planned, in which those living with HIV (who are not on medication yet) will be taught the breathing techniques and assessed to find whether their quality of life has improved. Says Dr Nita Mawar, principal investigator of the study that has been ap proved by the scientific research and ethical committees, "The pilot study will initially involve 60 persons living with HIV.
" Mawar says depression is twice as common with people living with HIV as it is with the general population, which is compounded by stress and a sense of isolation from the community. "While breathing techniques are known to help improve the quality of life for those suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma, we decided to scientifically study whether it can help people living with HIV as well." The breathing exercise is the cornerstone of the Art of Living programme.
"We want to experiment whether this simple technique that utilises specific rhythms of the breath can increase their energy and stamina, enhance their immunity and help improve their physical and mental health."
The NARI scientists and trained tutors of the Art of Living Course from Vishwa Vikas Mahavidyapeeth will provide a 20–hour module, teaching those living with HIV both short and long kriya (breathing techniques), every week. NARI director Dr Ramesh Paranjape said the training would be conducted at the institute itself as there were issues pertaining to confidentiality of those living with HIV.
"We will maintain a record of their sickness during the entire study period and assess them on the World Health Organisation's scale to evaluate their quality of life," says Mawar. "Initially, those who do not require medication for treating the virus will be involved in the study. They will be asked questions such as did the breathing exercise help them to such an extent that they did not have to take medicines for headaches, or did they develop enough confidence to interact with people in the community."
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