Yoga may have health benefits for people with asthma

April 26, 2016, Wiley
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

Living the high life: How altitude influences bone growth

June 19, 2018
High altitude is a particularly challenging environment—the terrain is physically challenging and the land has a relatively poor crop yield, so food can be sparse. Most importantly, oxygen levels are lower meaning that ...

Risks of cancer and mortality by average lifetime alcohol intake

June 19, 2018
The risk of mortality, and of developing a number of cancers, is lowest in light drinkers consuming an average of less than one drink per day across their lifetime, and the risk of some cancers increases with each additional ...

Introduction of alcohol found to adversely impact fertility rates in hunter-gatherer community

June 19, 2018
Fernando Ramirez Rozzi, a research director with the French National Centre for Scientific Research has found that the introduction of alcohol to a Baka pygmy hunter-gatherer society caused fertility rates to fall. In his ...

Bad habits that lead to cancer, chronic disease corrected by simple lifestyle intervention

June 19, 2018
Does this sound like someone you know? He or she spends too much time in front of screens, gets little exercise and eats a diet high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables.

Graphic warning labels linked to reduced sugary drink purchases

June 18, 2018
Warning labels that include photos linking sugary drink consumption with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay, may reduce purchases of the drinks, according to a new study by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Greater levels of vitamin D associated with decreasing risk of breast cancer

June 15, 2018
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine suggest higher levels of vitamin D are associated with decreasing risk of breast cancer. Their epidemiological study is published in the June 15 online ...

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.