Creighton researchers studying whether yoga can help smokers quit

Aug 27, 2013

Creighton University researchers want to know if Hatha Yoga can help smokers quit, and keep them smoke-free.

Creighton’s Department of Occupational Therapy and the Alegent Creighton Clinic Cardiac Center are doing the study. Researchers want to know if a combination of yoga poses, meditation, and breathing practices can help smokers quit.

Tammy Burns, researcher in the Creighton University School of Medicine cardiology department, says yoga may help smokers cope with the side effects they experience when they’re trying to quit.

“They’re looking for ways to cope with cravings, cope with stress in their lives, and we thought yoga would be a really effective thing that could be incorporated in to a quit attempt. So our study, right now we’re randomizing people, they’re randomly assigned to either yoga by itself with one session with a tobacco treatment specialist to set a quit plan, or our standard, traditional commit to quit group therapy class, or both.”

She says participants learn the three components of yoga: the poses, meditation, and breathing practices, both together and separately as part of the process.

“Some people really love the breathing, they can do that during the day while they’re at the office, or in the car, others will choose to do the yoga poses at different times of the day because some of the poses we chose open up the lungs, bring the arms up and expand the chest, and some people really like to do the meditation, for example, when they fall asleep at night, because sleep is a really important part of your healing.”

90 participants are needed for the study. Burns says participants must currently smoke at least 5 cigarettes per day, be physically able to try yoga, and able to attend counseling sessions. The study runs through June 2014.

More information is available by emailing or calling 402-280-5287.