Asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder characterized by reversible airway obstruction, allergic inflammation and airway hyper-responsiveness. Asthma management includes several medications to control the inflammation. A new long term study shows that yoga is an effective tool to improve the pulmonary functions, and it can be practiced as an adjuvant therapy with standard medical treatment of asthma for better outcomes.
This study was a randomized controlled trial, conducted at a tertiary-care teaching hospital involving 276 people. They were divided into the following two groups – Yoga group who received yogic intervention for 6 months along with standard medical treatment and control group who received only standard medical treatment. Subjects in the yoga group received yogic intervention (asanas, pranayama, and meditation) for 30 min per day, 5 days in a week for a period of 6 months.
The results of this study suggest that both the groups got improvement in 6-month study period compared to baseline scores. However, the improvement was achieved relatively earlier by the yoga group in comparison to the control group. The yoga group also had greater improvements in their respiratory measurements than the control group. For example, the yoga group improved 17% for peak expiratory flow rate compared to the 2% improvement in the control group.
This study confirms that:
- Lung functions improve significantly in the patients of the yoga group.
- Pranayama and yoga breathing can be used to increase respiratory stamina, relax the chest muscles, expand the lungs, raise energy levels, and calm the body.
- Yoga significantly improves the pulmonary functions in patients with bronchial asthma.
Overall, this study shows that yoga is an effective tool to improve the pulmonary functions, and it can be practiced as an adjuvant therapy with standard medical treatment of asthma with better outcome.
I’ve noticed that yoga improves my asthma as well! In fact, it’s about the only type of exercise that doesn’t make my lungs feel worse. I’m guessing it has something to do with both the breathing techniques and the fact that most of the poses actually expand your chest (where running for example presses the chest together)?