Benefits of yoga in asthmatic children

Researchers from the Chung Jen College of Nursing, in Taiwan report improved physical fitness of school-age children with asthma.

First, the details.

  • 31 elementary school children with asthma were assigned to a treatment group.
    • Yoga exercise 3 times weekly for 7 weeks, including 10 minutes of warm-up and breathing exercises, 40 minutes of yoga postures, and 10 minutes of cool down exercises
    • A control group
  • Fitness was assessed before and 7 and 9 weeks after the study ended.

And, the results.

  • Compared with children in the general population, the study participants had physical fitness at less than half the population.
  • There was no significant difference in physical fitness between the yoga and control groups before the study started.
  • Yoga was associated with increased muscular strength and endurance in asthmatic children.
  • Compared to the control group, the exercise group had better flexibility and muscular endurance.
  • These benefits remained after adjusting for age, duration of disease, and steroid use.
  • There was a tendency for fitness scores to improve over time with yoga.

The bottom line?
The authors don’t tell us if any of these differences achieved statistical significance. However, they concluded “that yoga exercise indeed improved BMI, flexibility, and muscular endurance.”

In a recent review of the therapeutic effects of yoga for children, researchers from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in Pomona concluded, “The evidence shows physiological benefits of yoga for the pediatric population,… but larger clinical trials, including specific measures of quality of life are necessary to provide definitive evidence.”

7/2/09 21:25 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.