Patient perspectives: Kundalini yoga meditation techniques for psycho-oncology and as potential therapies for cancer

Integr Cancer Ther. 2005 Mar;4(1):87-100. doi: 10.1177/1534735404273841.


The ancient system of Kundalini Yoga (KY) includes a vast array of meditation techniques. Some were discovered to be specific for treating psychiatric disorders and others are supposedly beneficial for treating cancers. To date, 2 clinical trials have been conducted for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The first was an open uncontrolled trial and the second a single-blinded randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing a KY protocol against the Relaxation Response and Mindfulness Meditation (RRMM) techniques combined. Both trials showed efficacy on all psychological scales using the KY protocol; however, the RCT showed no efficacy on any scale with the RRMM control group. The KY protocol employed an OCD-specific meditation technique combined with other techniques that are individually specific for anxiety, low energy, fear, anger, meeting mental challenges, and turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts. In addition to OCD symptoms, other symptoms, including anxiety and depression, were also significantly reduced. Elements of the KY protocol other than the OCD-specific technique also may have applications for psycho-oncology patients and are described here. Two depression-specific KY techniques are described that also help combat mental fatigue and low energy. A 7-part protocol is described that would be used in KY practice to affect the full spectrum of emotions and distress that complicate a cancer diagnosis. In addition, there are KY techniques that practitioners have used in treating cancer. These techniques have not yet been subjected to formal clinical trials but are described here as potential adjunctive therapies. A case history demonstrating rapid onset of acute relief of intense fear in a terminal breast cancer patient using a KY technique specific for fear is presented. A second case history is reported for a surviving male diagnosed in 1988 with terminal prostate cancer who has used KY therapy long term as part of a self-directed integrative care approach.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Anxiety / rehabilitation*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / rehabilitation
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation*
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / rehabilitation
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Yoga*