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Breathing Techniques and Meditation for Health Care Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic

Trial Status: Closed to Accrual

This phase I trial investigates breathing techniques and meditation for health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic. Yoga is an ancient system of practices used to balance the mind and body through exercise, meditation (focusing thoughts), and control of breathing and emotions. Studies have shown benefit of yoga in healthy volunteers as well as cancer patients. The benefits range from decreasing inflammation to improvement in immune system. Pranayama is a term used to describe breathing techniques that are an integral part of yoga practice. Pranayama and meditation may help manage stress and improve lung health. The goal of this trial is to learn if web-based breathing techniques and meditation help to reduce stress and improve lung health in health care workers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Participants must be able to read and understand English
  • Must be employed at MD Anderson Cancer Center

Exclusion Criteria

  • Epilepsy
  • Brain tumor
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Brain bleeding in the past 1 year
  • Recent abdominal surgery and not cleared to exercise


M D Anderson Cancer Center
Contact: Santhosshi Narayanan
Phone: 346-228-6676


I. To demonstrate the feasibility of a short pranayama or breathing techniques and meditation during Covid-19 pandemic.


I. To determine the adherence to the practice assessed as at least 50% of participants implement the intervention for 3 or more times in a week by the end of week 1/day 7 (+ 3 days).

II. To determine the change in resilience, perceived stress and psychological impact from day 0 today 28 as measured by the Brief Resilient Coping Scale (BRCS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS4), and COVID-19 Stress among health care workers questionnaire.

III. To determine the changes in breath holding time measured weekly for 4 weeks.

IV. To determine the differences in breath holding time between those who are adherent and those who are not adherent to the practice.


Participants view an instructional video on breathing techniques and meditation. Participants then perform breathing techniques over 3 minutes and meditation over 2 minutes twice daily (BID) for 28 days. Participants will also be requested to maintain weekly activity logs to document their daily practice. A survey will be completed at study recruitment, before receiving the video link, and then again 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks after starting the breathing practices.

Trial Phase Phase NA

Trial Type Supportive care

Lead Organization
M D Anderson Cancer Center

Principal Investigator
Santhosshi Narayanan

  • Primary ID 2020-0483
  • Secondary IDs NCI-2020-04931
  • ID NCT04482647