Yoga may have health benefits for people with asthma

April 26, 2016
yoga
Credit: Anna Langova/public domain

A new Cochrane Review, published in the Cochrane Library today, suggests that yoga may have a beneficial effect on symptoms and quality of life in people with asthma, but effects on lung function and medication use are uncertain.

Asthma is a common chronic disease affecting about 300 million people worldwide. The many typical symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.

Yoga has gained global popularity as a form of exercise with general life-style benefits, and recent studies have investigated the potential of yoga to relieve asthma-related problems.

A new Cochrane Review summarizes the results of randomised trials and has found evidence that practicing yoga might be able to improve asthma quality of life and symptoms to some extent. However, researchers also warned that higher-quality studies with more participants would be needed to draw any firm conclusions about the effects of yoga.

The team of Cochrane researchers wanted to find out the effects of yoga in people with asthma.

They found 15 randomised controlled trials which involved 1,048 men and women. Most of the trials were conducted in India, followed by Europe and the United States. The majority of participants had mild to moderate asthma for six months to more than 23 years. Six studies looked into the effects of breathing alone during yoga exercise, whilst the other studies assessed the effects of yoga that included breathing, posture and meditation.

Most people continued to take their usual asthma medication while participating in the studies. The studies were conducted over a time period of two weeks to over four years.

The researchers found some moderate quality evidence from five studies that yoga exercise reduces the impact of asthma on people's quality of life. However, evidence about yoga's impact on the participants' lung function is more uncertain because the results varied. The effects of yoga on medication use and any side-effects of yoga are also uncertain, because only a few very small studies reported these outcomes.

Lead author, Dr Zuyao Yang from the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong commented, "Our findings suggest that yoga exercise may lead to small improvements in asthma quality of life and symptoms. However, it is unclear whether yoga has a consistent impact on lung function and we don't yet know if yoga can reduce people's medication usage, or if there are any side-effects of yoga for people with asthma."

Deputy Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Airways Group, Rebecca Normansell, added, "At present, we just don't have enough high quality evidence to determine the effects of yoga as a type of exercise for helping people manage their asthma. Because there is uncertainty about the effects of on and use of asthma medication, it's important that people with continue to take their medication, as prescribed. The findings of this Cochrane Review will help people make more informed choices about their future treatment options."

Explore further: No harm in yoga: But not much help for asthma sufferers

More information: Yang Z-Y, Zhong H-B, Mao C, Yuan J-Q, Huang Y-F, Wu X-Y, Gao Y-M, Tang J-L. Yoga for asthma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD010346. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010346.pub2

Related Stories

No harm in yoga: But not much help for asthma sufferers

June 2, 2014
Yoga has long been promoted as a method for improving physical and mental well-being. And although yoga is often suggested to asthma sufferers to help alleviate symptoms, a new study found little evidence that yoga will improve ...

Yoga intervention ups sleep quality for staff nurses

October 23, 2015
(HealthDay)—For staff nurses, a regular yoga intervention can improve sleep quality and reduce work stress, according to a study published online Oct. 19 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Can yoga help those experiencing depression, anxiety or PTSD?

March 9, 2016
Across the country, health and human service providers have shown a growing interest in using yoga as an option for treating people who experience mental health problems. But a recent study from the University of North Carolina ...

Yoga, meditation aid menopausal symptoms after breast cancer

June 23, 2015
(HealthDay)—For breast cancer survivors, a yoga and meditation intervention is associated with improvement in menopausal symptoms, according to a study published in the July 1 issue of Cancer.

Yoga improves quality of life in patients with atrial fibrillation

March 14, 2016
Yoga improves quality of life in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, according to research published today in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. Heart rate and blood pressure also decreased in patients ...

Namaste, yogis: Yoga as effective as traditional pulmonary rehab in patients with COPD

October 19, 2015
Researchers from the Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders and All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India, studied the effects of yoga as a form of pulmonary rehabilitation on markers of inflammation ...

Recommended for you

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.