Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 760–765 | Cite as

Prospective study of new participants in a community-based mind-body training program

  • Sung W. Lee
  • Carol A. Mancuso
  • Mary E. Charlson
Original Articles


BACKGROUND: Mind-body practices such as yoga are widely popular, but little is known about how such exercises impact health-related quality of life.

OBJECTIVE: To measure changes in health-related quality of life associated with 3 months of mind-body training as practiced in community-based settings.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

SETTING: Eight centers for practice of mind-body training.

PARTICIPANTS: One hundred ninety-four English-speaking adults who had taken no more than 10 classes at the centers prior to enrollment in the study. One hundred seventy-one (88%) returned the 3-month follow-up questionnaire.

INTERVENTION: Administration of the SF-36 questionnaire at the start of training and after 3 months.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: At baseline, new participants in mind-body training reported lower scores than U.S. norms for 7 of 8 domains of the SF-36: mental health, role emotional, social, vitality, general health, body pain, and role physical (P<.002 for all comparisons). After 3 months of training, within-patient change scores improved in all domains (P<.0001), including a change of +15.5 (standard deviation ±21) in the mental health domain. In hierarchical regression analysis, younger age (P=.0003), baseline level of depressive symptoms (P=.01), and reporting a history of hypertension (P=.0054) were independent predictors of greater improvement in the SF-36 mental health score. Five participants (2.9%) reported a musculoskeletal injury.

CONCLUSIONS: New participants in a community-based mind-body training program reported poor health-related quality of life at baseline and moderate improvements after 3 months of practice. Randomized trials are needed to determine whether benefits may be generalizable to physician-referred populations.

Key words

alternative medicine behavioral health promotion disease prevention patient involvement quality of life 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sung W. Lee
    • 1
  • Carol A. Mancuso
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mary E. Charlson
    • 1
  1. 1.Received from the Center for Complementary and Integrative MedicineWeill Medical College of Cornell UniversityNew York
  2. 2.Division of General Internal Medicine, Hospital for Special SurgeryWeill Medical College of Cornell UniversityNew York
  3. 3.Division of General Internal MedicineWeill Medical College of Cornell UniversityNew York

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