EFFECTS OF YOGA ON SCHIZOPHRENICS P. Raghuraj, R.Nagarathna, A. Saraswati, H. Nunn & Shirley Telles Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Banglore, India.
INTRODUCTION Meditation has been gaining popularity as a psychotherapeutic intervention (Frith et al, 1979). However adverse effects of meditation have also been reported, viz. depersonalisation, altered reality testing, and the appearance of previously repressed, highly charged memories and conflicts (Glueck & Stroebel, 1976; Kennedy, 1976). Another report described how acute psychotic episodes were precipitated by intensive meditation in patients with a history of schizophrenia (Hasarus, 1976). Nevertheless the practice of yoga has potential benefits in schizophrenia by increasing the awareness (internal and external) along with relaxation. Hence the present study was designed to assess the benefits of diverse yoga practices in a mixed group of schizophrenics. Both clinical assessment and psychophysiological recordings were used to monitor their progress. In particular, since the electrodermal activity have already been widely studied in schizophrenics (Merkin 1985), the present study included a polygraphic recording of the skin resistance level (SPL) in these patients.