Yoga Adjunct for Scleroderma

Study Purpose

This is a pilot research study to determine the feasibility of gentle yoga and breathing exercises for symptom management in patients with scleroderma. Participants will have a first study visit that includes completing demographic and quality-of-life surveys, learning the gentle yoga and breathing exercises, and providing two saliva samples before and after doing the exercises. After this visit, participants will do the gentle yoga and breathing exercises twice daily at home (morning and evening) by following a video hyperlink. Participants will make an entry in their Yoga Practice Diaries each time they practice at home. On the 12th Week, participants will return to MUSC for a final study visit that includes doing the gentle yoga and breathing exercises, providing saliva samples, and completing a satisfaction survey. There will be a total of 2 clinic visits (on Weeks 1 and 12). The study coordinator will telephone participants weekly during the 10 weeks that they do the gentle yoga and breathing exercises at home to answer questions and help solve any problems. Each visit will take about 2 hours for this research study, in addition to any routine clinical examinations. Each home yoga and breathing practice will take 1 hour. The total study duration is 12 Weeks (3 months). Participants will receive compensation for their travel in the form of prepaid Visa gift cards.

Recruitment Criteria

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Study Type

An interventional clinical study is where participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes.

An observational clinical study is where participants identified as belonging to study groups are assessed for biomedical or health outcomes.

Searching Both is inclusive of interventional and observational studies.

Eligible Ages 18 Years and Over
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • - Men and women fulfilling the 2013 ACR/EULAR Classification for Systemic Sclerosis - Self-identified race/ethnicity as AA or NHW - Undergoing treatment from any healthcare provider - 18 years of age or older - Ability to perform the study exercises involving gentle movements sitting on a chair and regulated breathing - Access to a working telephone - Access to watch a video from a DVD or from a website or Youtube

    Exclusion Criteria:

    - Diagnosed with psychiatric or cognitive disorder that precludes provision of written informed consent - Physical limitations making Yoga techniques detrimental - Enrolled in any other Yoga related clinical trials - Currently engaged in regular Yoga activity (once per week or more).

Trial Details

Trial ID:

This trial id was obtained from, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.


Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.

Lead Sponsor

The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

Medical University of South Carolina
Principal Investigator

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

Principal Investigator Affiliation N/A
Agency Class

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Overall Status Recruiting
Countries United States

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Additional Details

This pilot research project will:

  • - Test the feasibility of a scleroderma self-management intervention that combines Gentle Yoga postures and Yoga Breathing (GYYB) as adjunctive treatment with standard care.
  • - Explore the effectiveness of GYYB for improving health-related quality-of-life (QoL) outcomes.
  • - Provide information about acceptance and adoption of a GYYB intervention by scleroderma patients of African ancestry (AA) and non-Hispanic white (NHW) scleroderma patients in the United States (US).
  • - Investigate, for the first time in scleroderma patients, the relationship between GYYB and inflammatory biomarker changes which may provide insight into biological changes associated with improved health-related QoL outcomes.
The following specific aims will be examined in a Pre/Post design using a 12-week GYYB intervention as an adjunct self-management strategy along with usual care: Specific Aim 1: Conduct a feasibility trial to assess changes in self-reported QoL in a 12-week adjunct GYYB program among scleroderma patients (N=30) receiving usual care. Outcomes will be assessed in the overall study population and stratified by race/ethnicity (NHW vs.#46; AA). Specific Aim 2: Assess changes in the expression of inflammatory biomarkers in a 12-week adjunct GYYB program in scleroderma patients receiving usual care. Outcomes will be assessed in the overall study population and stratified by race/ethnicity (NHW vs.#46; AA). This is a pilot study and will not test a hypothesis. There are no preliminary data for making assumptions regarding effect sizes and variability between Pre/Post measures in this intervention. The main goal of this pilot study is estimation. Results will provide critical preliminary data for planning a larger study and information about differences (or lack thereof) by race/ethnicity. With N=30 patients overall (n=15 per race/ethnicity group), investigators will be able to obtain relatively precise estimates of completion rates (e.g., 95% confidence intervals extending ±14% for the entire group and extending ±20% for each race/ethnicity group). Assuming some drop-outs over the study (i.e., with n=26 completers), investigators will be able to estimate changes in expression of inflammatory biomarkers with adequate precision (e.g., 95% confidence intervals extending ±0.4 standard deviation units for the entire group and extending ±0.5 standard deviation units for each race/ethnicity group). Although hypothesis testing is secondary, note that this study will have 80% power to detect changes equivalent to 0.6 standard deviation units in the overall sample and 0.8 standard deviation units in each race/ethnicity group (NHW and AA).

Arms & Interventions


Other: GYYB

This is a single-arm pre-post design.


Behavioral: - Gentle Yoga and Yogic Breathing

Gentle Yoga (GY) postures can be done while seated on a chair (sometimes called "Chair Yoga") and have been shown to benefit people with symptoms associated with cancer.12 However, Yoga is under-studied in the area of scleroderma. While most traditional Yoga postures can be practiced by anyone, people with scleroderma often have limited physical movement and can be prone to injury. Gentle Yoga postures are physically much easier to do than traditional Yoga and, thus, may be more accessible for SSc patients with musculoskeletal and other impairments. Gentle Yoga postures that are done while seated on a chair also combine easily with YB, but little is known about the specific benefits of the GY+YB combination (GYYB). Further study is needed to determine whether GYYB may be an effective strategy for improving QoL in SSc patients. The Yoga intervention to be used in this study specifically involves GY done while seated in combination with YB.

Contact a Trial Team

If you are interested in learning more about this trial, find the trial site nearest to your location and contact the site coordinator via email or phone. We also strongly recommend that you consult with your healthcare provider about the trials that may interest you and refer to our terms of service below.

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina




Medical University of South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina, 29425

Site Contact

Sundaravadivel Balasubramanian, PhD

[email protected]