Beijing | Yoga may have a beneficial effect on symptoms and quality of life in people with asthma, according to research conducted in India, Europe and the US. Our findings suggest that yoga exercise may lead to small improvements in asthma quality of life and symptoms, said Zuyao Yang from Chinese University in Hong Kong.
However, it is unclear whether yoga has a consistent impact on lung function and we do not yet know if yoga can reduce people’s medication usage, or if there are any side-effects of yoga for people with asthma, said Yang. 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, researchers said. 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, they said.
The new study summarised the results of randomised trials and found evidence that practicing yoga might be able to improve asthma quality of life and symptoms to some extent. Researchers 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 US.
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, while the other studies assessed the effects of yoga that included breathing, posture and meditation, researchers said. 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, they said.
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, researchers said. The findings were published in the journal Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.