Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PH.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Brigham and Women's Hospital
900 Commonwealth Ave
Boston MA 02215
The major focus of my research interest lies in the field of Mind-Body Medicine. Specifically, I am interested in the evaluation of the clinical effectiveness and basic psychophysiological mechanisms underlying the practice of yoga and meditation techniques. These behavioral techniques include specific manipulations of respiratory frequency and tidal volume, maintenance of body postures and stretching exercises, and meditation, which involves relaxed control of attention in a manner that precludes ruminative thought. These practices are known to produce a coordinated psychophysiological response that has been called the relaxation response, which is associated with a reduction in arousal and a sense of relaxation and well-being. These techniques have been found to be effective for many disorders that have a psychosomatic component and are exacerbated by stress. As behavioral techniques, these practices provide patients with the opportunity for direct involvement in their healthcare, not only reducing the severity of their disorder, but also improving their quality of life. In many cases, these techniques are more effective than existing pharmacological treatments, many of which have side effects.
I am currently conducting research studies on the treatment of insomnia with yoga and meditation techniques. I am also interested in the potential effectiveness of these techniques in insomnia secondary to other conditions such as depression, anxiety and fibromyalgia and in other sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome.
I am also evaluating the effectiveness of yoga treatments for disorders that have strong psychosomatic components or are stress-related, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. In addition to assessing improvements in disease-specific measures, these studies will evaluate measures that are known to show improvement with yoga and meditation practice such as subjective mood, measures of stress such as cortisol and catecholamine levels, and autonomic arousal as measured by heart rate variability analysis. A central project in my laboratory is the evaluation of mental health benefits of yoga in children and adolescents in school settings. I am also interested in basic research that will address the mind-body mechanisms by which yoga and meditation generate psychophysiological changes and improve disease severity.
Effect of Yoga on Autonomic Physiology and Sleep Onset
Summer, 06/11/01 - 08/31/01
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