Using yoga to help manage asthma

The objective of this study was to measure the effects of yoga on physiologic and immunologic function in adults with asthma.

First, the details.

  • 57 adults with mild or moderate bronchial asthma were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
    • Yoga + conventional care
    • Conventional care
  • Yoga consisted of 2 weeks of supervised training in lifestyle modification and stress management based on yoga, which was followed by continuing the practices at home for 6 weeks.

And, the results.

  • In the yoga group, there was significant improvement in lung function compared to the start of the study.
    • The first second of forced expiratory volume (FEV1)
    • Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) at 2, 4 and 8 weeks
    • Reduced exercise-induced bronchoconstriction
  • There was no corresponding reduction in the tests immune function.
    • Urine levels of prostaglandin D2 metabolite (11beta prostaglandin F2alpha) levels in response to exercise
    • Eosinophilic cationic protein blood levels
  • Patients reported significant improvement in quality of life in both groups.
    • This improvement was achieved earlier and was more complete in the yoga group.
  • Use of rescue medication was significantly decreased in both the groups.
    • The decrease occurred earlier and was more marked in the yoga group.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Adding the mind body approach of yoga to the predominantly physical approach of conventional care results in measurable improvement in subjective as well as objective outcomes in bronchial asthma.”

These results confirm the physical benefits reported by others. However, this study doesn’t shed light on the mechanism of this improvement.

8/1/09 21:32 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.