Kundalini Yoga for Post-Treatment Lyme Disease: A Preliminary Randomized Study

Abstract: This study examined the adherence to and the potential benefit of Kundalini yoga (KY) for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). Participants were randomly assigned to 8 weeks of a KY small-group intervention or a waitlist control (WLC). Adherence was measured as attendance at KY group sessions. Primary outcomes assessed pain, pain interference, fatigue, and global health. Secondary outcomes assessed multisystem symptom burden, mood, sleep, physical and social functioning, cognition, and mindfulness. Linear mixed models were used to test changes in outcomes over time as a function of group assignment; intercepts for participants were modeled as random effects. Although the target sample size was 40 participants, the study concluded with 29 participants due to recruitment challenges. No KY participants dropped out of the study, and participants attended 75% of group sessions on average, but WLC retention was poor (57%). Regarding primary outcomes, there was no significant interaction between group and time. Regarding secondary outcomes, there was a significant interaction between group and time for multisystem symptom burden (p < 0.05) and cognition (p < 0.01); KY participants reported improved multisystem symptom burden and cognition over the course of the study compared to WLC participants. To enhance recruitment and retention, future trials may consider expanding geographic access and including supportive procedures for WLC participants. This preliminary study supports the need for a larger study to determine if KY reduces multisystem symptom burden and enhances cognition among people with PTLDS.

Keywords: post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome; Kundalini yoga; meditation; symptom burden; cognitive functioning

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