Yoga is often suggested to asthma sufferers to help alleviate symptoms, but a new study has found that it may not be of much help.
The research examined 14 previously published studies to determine the effectiveness of yoga in the treatment of asthma.
“Many people practice yoga for its health benefits, including asthma sufferers,” said Holger Cramer, lead author of the study from University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.
“We reviewed the available data to see if it made a difference and found only weak evidence that it does. Yoga can’t be considered a routine intervention for patients with asthma at this time.
“But it can be considered an alternative to breathing exercises for asthma patients interested in complementary interventions,” Cramer said.
In the review, 824 adults were part of 14 studies examined for evidence that yoga improves control, symptoms, quality of life and lung function in patients with asthma.
Participants in the studies were from North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Because only one trial included children, the effects of yoga on children couldn’t be evaluated.
The research was published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
“Many asthma sufferers look to complementary therapies, such as yoga, to help relieve their symptoms,” said allergist Michael Foggs, ACAAI president.
“If yoga helps them to feel better and breathe better, patients should by all means practice it. At the same time, we don’t advise that yoga be recommended to asthma sufferers as a treatment,” Foggs said.