Indications and Efficacy
Kundalini yoga has been shown to be effective in treating OCD in a small, randomized trial of patients. Kundalini yoga involves meditative training, breathing exercises, chanting, and body awareness and flexibility. Patients who were treated over a period of three months with this form of yoga reported significantly greater OCD symptom improvement compared to a control group. Five of the patients in the trial also presented with Trichotillomania and showed symptom improvement in their hair pulling symptoms as well.
Initiation and Ongoing Treatment
Yoga should not be considered a stand-alone treatment for OCD or Trichotillomania. Limited data suggests that yoga is effective in treating OCD; however, we recommend that the clinician encourage the patient to use yoga techniques in conjunction with the use of
SRIs or behavioral or cognitive therapies. Yoga should also be considered an adjunctive treatment to n-acetylcysteine or habit reversal therapy in Trichotillomania.
If patients are interested in engaging in yoga, encourage him or her to contact a local health center or yoga club to inquire about courses that are available.
Risks and Side Effects
Minimal risks are associated with yoga, however, the clinician must assess for medical contraindications including cardiac complications prior to the recommendation of yoga.