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Yoga may help lessen the debilitating effects of asthma and have lifestyle benefits

There is evidence that yoga could improve the symptoms of asthma and boost quality of life, but the effects on lung function and medication use are uncertain, new research has found.

There is evidence that yoga could improve the symptoms of asthma and boost quality of life, but the effects on lung function and medication use are uncertain, new research has found.

Recent studies looked into the possibility that yoga, a popular exercise due to its lifestyle benefits, could relieve problems of the common chronic disease that affects 300 million people around the world.

A new Cochrane Review summarised randomised trials and found evidence that practising yoga might improve symptoms and quality of life. But researchers said higher-quality studies with more participants were needed before firm conclusions could be drawn.

The Cochrane team looked at 15 randomised controlled trials of 1,048 men and women. The trials were mostly conducted in India, but also carried out in Europe and the US.

Most participants had experienced mild to moderate asthma for between six months and 23 years. Six studies looked into the effects of breathing during yoga, while other studies assessed breathing, posture and meditation. Most participants continued to take asthma medication during the studies.

The researchers found moderate quality evidence from five studies that yoga reduces the impact of asthma. However, evidence about the effect practising yoga had on lung function is more uncertain.

Reference

Yang ZY et al (2016). Yoga for asthma. Cochrane Review.

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