Can yoga help with #asthma?

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Asthama and yoga

Asthma is a chronic lung disorder that makes breathing difficult by narrowing down the airways of the lung due to inflammation. The excess mucus formed obstructs the pathway and makes the breathing more difficult. It causes the tightness of chest, wheezing, coughing and shortness of the breath. Asthma may be triggered by allergens like dust, smoke, pollution, pollen and even physical exercise. Asthma may turn out to be lethal sometimes due to inadequate medical care or severity of the disease. Asthma and its medication may complicate other health conditions.

Around 26 million Americans are affected by the disease. Among them, 7 million are kids. Every year 10.5 million children lost schools days and 14.3 million adults lost their work days. The annual direct cost of heath care and the indirect cost due to loss of productivity amounts to $60 billions. Globally it affects 334 million people.

In spite of the advancement in the medical health care, the prevalence and the incidence of the disease are growing manifold. A mountainous information on asthma is available in the published media except how to cure. As of now, asthma can be controlled, but cannot be cured, that too at the cost of adverse side effects and complications in other health conditions. Under the circumstances, looking for an adjunct therapy is a wiser decision.

It is observed in the clinical trials and studies that #yoga offers some help to asthma patients. The research data available now show favorable results in support of the efficacy of yoga in the long term management of asthma (see Ref.No:1 and Ref.No:2 below).

In the study conducted at the missionary of charity in Jimma town (Ref.No:3), southwest Ethiopia, it was found that yoga decreased the number of day and night asthma attacks, use of drugs especially salbutamol puff and improvement in the Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR).

Hong Kong based researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration funded by the National Institute for Health Research,  reviewed 15 studies (Randomized Control Trials) consisting 1048 participants to evaluate the effects of yoga in people with asthma, suggest that there was some evidence that yoga may improve quality of life, symptoms, forced vital capacity and peak expiratory flow rate, and reduce medication usage in people with asthma. The effects of yoga on forced expiratory volume in one second were not statistically significant.

This study is an analysis of the 15 studies already made and based on the secondary data. The outcome of the study is not conclusive. It is suggestive only. The study found that the quality of evidence of the earlier studies was moderate. The analysis of 15 studies which had used different yoga techniques for yoga groups could not be generalised to arrive at a generic result. Because one yoga practice may give differed result from other yoga practice and the efficacy of one yoga routine that have positive influence on asthma patients should not be judged with other yoga routine that have no influence on the disease. Another point to be noted is the daily time taken by the yoga group and the period of observation also differ from study to study. Yoga in different daily routine of different time duration for a different period will give different and mixed results only. Moreover asthma may be triggered by different stimulants for different patients and hence the response time and ratio also varies. It warrants a large scale studies involving specific sub-group analysis.

The outcome of the research data on the subject is not fully supportive of the efficacy of yoga and at the same time does not rule out yoga as a myth in support of asthma treatment. It suggests that large scale studies are required to have a better conclusion. The fact is that the efficacy of yoga is not well studied yet at clinical trials.

However we may conclude that yoga can be used as an adjunct therapy in the treatment of asthma.







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