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					      EXPERIENTIAL AND BIOPHYSICAL EFFECTS OF THE ART OF LIVING PROGRAMME
                               ON ITS PARTICIPANTS
                    Andrej Trampuž (1), Igor Kononenko (2), Velko S. Rus (1), University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
                                  (1) Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Psychology, Aškerčeva 2, Ljubljana
                                (2) Faculty of Computer and Information Science, Tržaška 25, SI-1001 Ljubljana
                                         e-mail: andrej.trampuz@siol.net; igor.kononenko@fri.uni-lj.si



                                 ABSTRACT                                              (AOLF Health Initiative,1999) also aroused our interest.
                                                                                       Namely, the programmes of The Art of Living Foundation are
       Lately new trends have appeared in the field of                                 being implemented in more than 85 states all over the world
personal and human potential development, health care and                              and are designed for different populations.
the promotion of psychophysical well-being. They are                                          The goal of the AOL programmes is to improve the
holistically oriented and promote the harmony between the                              quality of life in the sense of physical condition of a person as
various human dimensions. One of the most important                                    well as their emotional, mental and psychosocial well-being
organisations in that field is The Art of Living Foundation                            (AOLF Health Initiative,1999). The programme aims to
which implements its programmes world-wide. In Slovenia                                achieve these goals by using a special methodology, which,
they are carried out by the Institute for Strengthening of                             among other approaches, includes unique breathing
Human Values (for individuals as well as institutions, e.g. the                        techniques. They are considered as useful tools for
Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Institute for                       improving the health condition of the participants, their
Rehabilitation of The Republic of Slovenia etc.).                                      cognitive effectiveness, ability in coping with stress and
       The article aims to present the results of our research                         eliminating its effects, which all together leads to a more
about the effects of The Art of Living Programme on its                                successful and joyful life and better interpersonal
participants. We were interested in whether the programme                              relationships. The first phase of the AOL programme is a 6-
has significant influence on the chosen biophysical and                                day introductory seminar which provides the participants with
psychological indicators. We used the recently developed                               the basic knowledge, techniques and skills. After that, the
technology for recording the human electromagnetic field                               participants can deepen the acquired knowledge at regular
based on the Gas Discharge Visualisation (GDV) technique                               meetings and continue with advanced educational
which renders new information about the biophysical and                                processes.
psychical state of a person. Apart from that, some                                            The AOL programmes (AOLF Health Initiative,1999)
selfevaluation scales were used.                                                       are meant not only for the general population, but also for
                                                                                       groups that are especially stressed due to their special
                                                                                       medical, psychosocial or socioeconomic status. Namely, the
I. INTRODUCTION                                                                        programmes are being carried out also for patients with
                                                                                       serious illnesses such as cancer1, multiple sclerosis2, AIDS,
I. 1 Short Theoretical Background                                                      psychic disorders3 etc., for addicted people, managers and
                                                                                       other employees in companies4, high school and university
      One of the reasons that we decided to carry out this
                                                                                       students5, people with post-traumatic stress syndrome6,
project is the latest development of technology which offers
                                                                                       convicts and staff in prisons7, young offenders, policemen8
the possibility of new approaches in biopsychological
                                                                                       and others. In addition to the programmes for adults, there
researching, which can be used also for analysing the effect
                                                                                       are also programmes for children and teenagers.
of complex social interactions when the criterions of personal
                                                                                              The effectiveness of the programmes is above all
change/growth are treated as biophysical and psychological
                                                                                       indicated by the anecdotal records about the experiences of
ones. Another reason is that there are several indicators
                                                                                       people connected with the AOL programme, including the
which show a relatively high effectiveness of The Art of
                                                                                       participants9 (see Wittman, 1996), professionals (see AOLF,
Living (AOL) Programme as a complex programme of
                                                                                       1996 and 1997) – especially doctors and health care
health, life quality and human potential development based
                                                                                       practitioners (with their experiences at the programme and at
on social interaction and on a special methodology. The high
                                                                                       their work with patients), as well as by a number of case
number of participants world-wide (over 500,000 people) and
                                                                                       studies (see AOLF, 1996 and 1997).
wide applicability of the programme to different social groups
                                                                                              In addition to that, some research studies were
____________________________________________________
1   in the USA at the High Desert Medical Oncology Center, Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic etc.
2   in Slovenia through the Institute for rehabilitation of The Republic of Slovenia
3   at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore in India there is a large-scale programme of treating patients suffering from
     depressive disorders
4   American express, British airways, Citi bank, Exide industries, International chemical industries, Texas instrument, Volvo, Exide industries, Morgan Stanley etc.
5   at the Southeastern University in USA the programme is included in the curriculum of the university; in Slovenia it operates through the Organisation of
     Students of University of Ljubljana and the Organisation of High School Students of Slovenia
6   in Croatia for the Municipality of Buje there was a programme victims of war
7   a large-scale programme for convicts in prisons in the USA (Northeast pre-release center Cleveland, Barnstable county house of corrections, etc.) and in
     India; in Slovenia for the Administration for Penal Sanctions at the Ministry of Internal Affairs
8   in Slovenia for the Ministry of Internal Affairs
9   in Slovenia they are recorded especially from policemen, leading employees, staff and convicts in prisons and university and high school students
implemented, of which at least two should be mentioned. At         equalised according to the most important irrelevant
the Institute for Rehabilitation of The Republic of Slovenia       variables.
they carried out a research about the influence of the AOL               The research has multiple goals: apart from
programme on the functional condition of multiple sclerosis        examination of the effect of the AOL programme, our goal
patients (Erjavec and Košorok, 1998). The application of the       was also to implement new, complex and holistic criterions of
AOL breathing techniques improved the monitored                    the effectiveness of complex social interaction which is
parameters significantly – in spite of the fact that the           manifested in the programme. These criterions are
techniques were used for a short period of time. The ability of    biopsychosocial and embrace different interdisciplinary
the patients, measured in meters covered in a 5-minute walk,       measuring areas. This approach has also different applicable
was improved. Improvement was also observed in the control         implications, especially connecting the validation of complex
of breathing (abdominal-thoracic) and in the breathing ability     programmes of health, life quality and human potentials
as a whole (measured in litres of air when inhaling and            development.
exhaling), which not only has a general positive influence but           The experimental hypothesis of the first and the
also facilitates coughing up. Considering the important            second study was: The change ("after" vs. "before") of
results of the pilot study researchers on the Institute expect     certain biopsychological indicators (biophysical and
further positive influences to the functional condition of         psychological) differs significantly between the experimental
individuals after a regular and permanent application of the       and the control group, to the advantage of the experimental
mentioned breathing techniques.                                    one.
       Several research studies were conducted also at the               The quasi-experimental hypothesis of the third study
National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences              was: the AOL "participants" group differs significantly from
(N.I.M.H.A.N.S.), Bangalore, India, which comprised                the "non participants" group according to certain
independent clinical and laboratory studies about                  biopsychological indicators, to the advantage of the first
neurophysiological effects, therapeutic benefits and clinical      group.
feasibility of the AOL programmes and its related techniques
on patients suffering from depression (see Murthy and
authors, 1997 and 1998; Janakiramaiah and authors, 1998;           II. METHOD
Meti and authors, 1996). These studies were carried out by
the multidisciplinary team of experts of N.I.M.H.A.N.S.            II. 1 Research design and subjects
       The main findings of the studies were summarised by                The first study examined the influence of the first phase
Newman (1998): the AOL techniques have been shown to be            of the AOL programme – the 6-day AOL introductory seminar
highly effective in treating patients suffering from depression.   meant for the general population – on its participants. We
There was a 68-73% remission rate (anything over 50% is            were also interested in the effect of a single group practice of
impressive). Relief from all forms of depression studied was       the most important basic AOL techniques which are
quite rapid – substantial relief was found generally by three      practised at the regular AOL meetings (duration 2-3 hours).
weeks. Results persisted over time – patients remained             This was tested in the second study. The third study aimed to
stable and asymptomatic at the three-month follow up. This         find out if general participation in the AOL programmes has
success rate in treating depression was found regardless of        any influence on the chosen indicators of psychophysical
the degree of depression, length of time suffering from            state.
depression, the amount of stress in their present lives, and              The research design of the first two studies was
whether treatment was offered in a hospital or outpatient          conceptualised as a mixed two-factor experimental design.
setting. A study comparing anti-depressant drug therapy and        We compared the participants according to whether they
electroshock therapy to AOL techniques found that AOL              were included in the examined phase of the programme or
techniques alone are as effective as any other treatment.          not (experimental vs. control group) and according to their
Nothing was statistically more effective than AOL techniques       condition after the programme in comparison with the
alone. AOL techniques have also been found in several              condition before the programme. The period factor (before
depression studies to produce highly desirable biological          vs. after treatment) was elaborated as a within-subject
effects on brain and endocrine (hormone) functioning.              design, while the group membership was elaborated as a
Janakiramaiah, Director of the Research Group at the               between-subject design. The third study was a general
N.I.M.H.A.N.S. concluded that AOL techniques have                  comparative study of two groups according to the criterion of
remarkable therapeutic effects, are clinically feasible and        general participation or not-participation in the programme.
effective and have the potential to become a first-line                   The compared groups were equalised according to the
treatment of dysthymic [chronic mild depression] patients and      following irrelevant variables: sex, education, age, cultural
possibly in mild and moderate forms of major depressive            environment and similar characteristics of life style, and also
disorder.                                                          according the chosen indicators of psychophysical state. The
                                                                   numerus of the experimental group in the first study was 21,
I. 2 Problem, Basic Goals and General Hypothesis                   and in the control group 20; the second study tested 20
       We were interested in the question of the effects of the    persons in the experimental group and 10 in the control
AOL Programme on the biopsychological status of its                group. In the third study we compared 35 people who are
participants. Three studies were conducted, the first and the      included in the AOL programme with 36 people who aren’t.
second as the experimental/control group design. The               The groups consisted of people of both sexes. The age span
research design of the third study was quasi-experimental;         was between 19 and 48 years; the majority being aged
two groups ("participants" and "non participants") were            between 19 and 28. The educational profile varied from
                                                                   primary to university education; most participants were
students. The research took place in Croatia, mainly in the                    mixed research design and with estimation of the statistical
Zagreb region, where it was easier to obtain a sample of                       significance of differences between the distribution of
subjects than it would be in Slovenia at that time. According                  differences (after minus before) in the experimental and
to the world-wide implementation of the programme,                             control group with the t-test – both approaches give identical
however, we assume that nationality is an irrelevant factor.                   results. In the third study we estimated the statistical
                                                                               significance of the difference between "participants" and
II. 2 Applied instruments, data collection and elaboration                     "non-participants" with the t-test.
       The recently developed technology for recording the
human bioelectric field which uses the Gas Discharge                      III. RESULTS
Visualisation (GDV) technique (Korotkov, 1998) provides a
possibly useful information about the biophysical and                            The results are shown in Table 1. Each column
psychical state of the person. Korotkov (1998) and his team               represents one of the chosen GDV parameters or
in St. Petersburg, Russia developed the instrument, Crown-                selfevaluations. In the presentation of the first and the
TV, that can be used routinely. This opens practical                      second study the first two rows show the change of
possibilities to study the effects of GDV. Besides studying               arithmetic means according to the period (after minus before)
non-living objects, such as water, various liquids, and                   and statistic significance of it for the experimental group. The
minerals, the most widely studied are living organisms: plants            next two rows show the same for control group. The last row
(leafs, seeds, etc.), animals, and of course humans. For                  represents the significance of interactional effect of the
humans, bioelectric fields of fingers and of blood excerpts               period and group membership factors. In the presentation of
are most widely recorded (Gurvits and Korotkov, 1998).                    the third study the two rows show the change of arithmetic
       The GDV images are described with a set of 610                     means according to the general participation in the AOL
parameters, up to 70 for one finger (see Kononenko et al.,                programme (included minus not included) and the statistic
1999 in this Volume for brief description of parameters).                 significance of it. Shadowed fields represent statistically
Experience of prof. Korotkov (1998) and his team and of                   significant results; double-framed for p0,05 and normal-
some other researchers as well (e.g. Chalko, 1999) indicates              framed for 0,05p0,10. Figure 1 presents arithmetic means
that the Area (F1), Brightness (F5), Shape (F3) and Fractal               of the Area parameter (which is usually considered as the
Dimension (F4) parameters of the coronas of fingertips are
directly related to the physical as well as psychical state of a        Table 1: Main and interactional effects of period and group
person. The larger the Area and Shape are, and the smaller                          membership on certain dependant variables
the Fractal Dimension and Brightness, the better the                                                                                fractal bright-
bioelectric field and the psychophysical state of the person                            GDV parametrs              area    shape
                                                                                                                                     dim.      nees
are. Therefore, in the following sections we will limit our                        exp.
                                                                                             aver. (aft.-bef.)      701,6 9,099        -0,13       1,13
discussion to those parameters only.                                                         t-test (aft.; bef.)    0,009 0,007         0,07 0,005
       The Crown-TV instrument was used in all three                    1. study             aver. (aft.-bef.)       -44,8 4,887 0,091 0,354
                                                                                   cont.
studies. In the first study we additionally used four                                        t-test (aft.; bef)     0,854      0,23     0,25      0599
selfevaluation scales (grades 1-5) for evaluating the physical                      sig. of interactional effect    0,035       0,4 0,037 0,311
and psychical state, mood and level of tiredness.                                            aver. (aft.-bef.)      626,4 1,819 0,097 0,206
                                                                                   exp.
       The data were collected individually. In the first two                                t-test (aft.; bef)     0,001 0,597 0,149 0,625
studies we recorded the coronas of all ten fingers before the           2. study             aver. (aft.-bef.)        -108    -5,74    -0,12      -0,05
                                                                                   cont.
beginning of the programme and after the programme. In the                                   t-test (aft.; bef)     0,631 0,278 0,041              0,95
third study we used the data collected in the first two studies                     sig. of interactional effect    0,012 0,213 0,036 0,746
before the programme and divided them according to                                  aver. (includ.-not includ.)        750 0,683       -0,15      -1,07
                                                                        3. study
whether the subjects were already participating in the AOL                          t-test (includ.; not includ.)   0,022 0,867 0,039 0,068
programme or not.                                                                                                 phys. psych.                 tired-
                                                                                        selfevaluations            state    state
                                                                                                                                     mood
                                                                                                                                               nees
       The data were elaborated with Microsoft Excel and
                                                                                             aver. (aft.-bef.)      0,333 0,619 0,905 0,714
SPSS package. We averaged the numeric parameters over                              exp.
                                                                                             t-test (aft.; bef.)    0,005 0,004 0,001 0,002
all ten fingers. In the first two studies we estimated the size
                                                                        1. study             aver. (aft.-bef.)         0,1    -0,05      0,1       0,15
and direction of differences as well as their statistical                          cont.
                                                                                             t-test (aft.; bef.)    0,629 0,716 0,649 0,481
significance according to the period factor in both the                             sig. of interactional effect    0,318 0,007 0,017 0,056
experimental and the control group. To evaluate the
statistical significance we
used the (paired) t-test
that returns the probability                7000
that the difference is pure                 6500                                                                                            before
                                         area




chance.        We        also               6000                                                                                            after
estimated the statistical                   5500
significance       of     the               5000
interaction between both
factors - period and group                           ex p.    cont.                ex p.        cont.                incl. not-incl.
membership – in two                                1. study                      2. study                         3. study
ways: with multivariant
analysis of variance for           Figure 1: Arithmetic means of the Area parameter according to the period and group membership
most significant parameter) according to the period and               human fingertips. If we assume that the Area, Brightness,
group membership for all three studies.                               Fractal Dimension, and Shape parameters are in fact related
                                                                      to psychophysical state of the person then our study confirms
                                                                      the influence of The Art of Living on the improvement of a
IV. INTERPRETATION                                                    person's state, which is also confirmed by the improvement
                                                                      of the selfevaluation of psychophysical state after The Art of
       The results of the first study (about the effect of the six-   Living Course.
day AOL basic course) indicate that the Area, Shape, Fractal                 Apart from that, The Art of Living Programme has
Dimension and Brightness parameters differ statistically              several other favourable characteristics: the method is
significantly (for the probability see Table 1) in experimental       cheap, non-invasive, holistic, preventive as well as curative
group between before and after, and none of those                     and easy to learn and use. It enables one a more active
parameters differ significantly in control group. We                  engagement in promoting one’s own health and quality of
discovered statistically significant interactional effect of          life. And it brings more than just physical well-being; it brings
period and group membership on Area and Fractal                       harmony in other aspects of life as well.
dimension. If we assume that Area, Shape, Fractal
Dimension and Brightness parameters are indeed directly
related to the psychophysical state of the person (as                 References
suggested by studies of other researchers) our results suffice
to conclude that an AOL basic course significantly improves           [1] Murthy, P.J. N.V. and authors (1997). Normalization of
the psychophysical state of persons.                                       P300 Amplitude following Treatment in Dysthymia.
       The results of all selfevaluation scales indicate that all          Biological Psychiatry, 42, 740-743.
evaluations of the psychophysical state (physical and psychic         [2] Janakiramaiah, N. and authors (1998). Therapeutic
state, mood and level of tiredness) significantly improved                 Efficacy of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga in Dysthymic Disorder.
after the course in comparison to the period before. No                    NIMHANS Journal, Januar 1998, 21-28, National Institute
                                                                           of Mental Health an Neuroscience (NIMHANS) of India,
similar effects were found in the control group. We also
                                                                           Bangalore.
discovered a statistically significant interactional effect of
                                                                      [3] Murthy, P.J.N.V. and authors (1998). P300 amplitude and
period and group membership on selfevaluation of psychical                 antidepressant response to Sudarshan Kriya Yoga, Journal
state, mood and level of tiredness. This results confirm the               of Affecitve Disorders, 50, 45-48.
findings gained by the GDV technique.                                 [4] Meti, B.L. and authors (1996). Effects of Sudarshan Kriya
       The results of the second study (about the influence of             in Dysthymic Disorders, Department of Neurophysiology on
a single group practise on a two-hour AOL regular meeting)                 Psychiatry, NIMHANS.
indicate that the Area parameter differs significantly in the         [5] Newman, R. (1998). Summarised Findings from Research
experimental group between before and after, but the Fractal               Studies on the Treatment of Depression using Sudarshan
Dimension parameter differs significantly in the control group.            Kriya and it's Related Practices, internal report of The Art
We discovered a statistically significant interactional effect of          of Living Foundation.
period and group membership on Area and Fractal                       [6] Erjavec, T. and Košorok, V. (1998). Test results of patients
dimension. However, the difference in Fractal Dimension is                 with multiple sclerosis after doing breathing techiques.
due to the significant change in the control group. Our results            Institute for Rehabilitation of The Republic of Slovenia.
do not suffice entirely to conclude for certain that a single         [7] The Art of Living Foundation Health Initiative (1999).
group practise on the AOL regular meeting significantly                    Presentation to WHO 4th Internatioanal Conference on
influences the psychophysical state of persons because of                  Health Promotion.
the Fractal Dimension parameter. However, the most                    [8] The Art of Living Foundation (1997). Breathing Health:
significant parameter is usually considered to be the Area,                Reports Of Health Improvements In Individuals Practicsing
                                                                           The Healing Breath Technique.
and this parameter indicates that the AOL meeting does
                                                                      [9] The Art of Living Foundation (1996). Amazing Facts:
improve the bioelectric field of humans.
                                                                           Healing Breath, Breathing Health.
       The results of the third study (general comparison             [10] Wittman, O. (1996). The Art of Living Prison S.M.A.R.T.
between participants of the AOL programme and those who                    Foundation Course Experiences.
are not) indicate that the Area, Fractal Dimension and                [11] Chalko, T. (1999). Light and consciousness: Effects of
Brightness parameters differ significantly between the two                 multi-wavelength interference patterns on human state,
groups; Area is larger and Fractal Dimension and Brightness                Proc. Science, Information and Spirit'99, St.Petersburg,
are smaller for the followers of The Art of Living. This suffices          May 1999; pp. 51-52.
to conclude that the AOL programme indeed improves the                [12] Gurvits, B. and Korotkov, K. (1998). A new concept of the
bioelectric field as registered by the GDV technique. In this              early diagnosis of cancer, Consciousness and Physical
analysis also the Number of Fragments (F7), the Average                    Reality, 1(1), 84-89.
Area of fragments (F8) and the Relative Area (F10)                    [13] Kononenko, I., Zrimec, T., Prihavec, B., Bevk, M.,
parameters confirm that the followers of The Art of Living                 Stanojevic, S. (1999). Machine learning and GDV images:
exhibit a better (with less fragments, and larger area)                    Diagnosis and therapy verification, Proc. Biology and
bioelectric field.                                                         Cognitive Science, Ljubljana, October 1999, this Volume.
                                                                      [14] Korotkov, K. (1998). Aura and Consciousness: A New
                                                                           Stage of Scientific Understanding, St.Petersburg, Russia:
5 . CONCLUSION                                                             State Editing and Publishing Unit Kultura.

     The three studies clearly demonstrated the effect of
The Art of Living Programme on the bioelectric field of the

				
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