A recent study has found that practicing yoga may improve exercise capacity and pulmonary function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).1

Published in Clinical Rehabilitation, investigators from institutions in Germany and Australia found that breathing techniques commonly utilized in yoga may be an effective adjunct intervention for individuals with COPD.1

This new research supports an earlier study, published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease, that also found yoga helpful for improving pulmonary function for patients with COPD.2

In the new meta-analysis, 11 randomized controlled trials with a combined 586 patients were studied. This study’s evidence revealed potentially beneficial effects of yoga for patients with COPD versus no treatment. Patients in the study were examined for quality of life utilizing the COPD Assessment Test, exercise capacity assessed by the 6-minute walk test, and pulmonary function. Only the effects on exercise capacity and pulmonary function were robust against methodological bias, according to investigators. 1

In this study, yoga-associated effects were only present in breathing-focused interventions, and not with postures. Infrequent adverse events were reported in the study. 1

In the earlier study, published in 2014, results were based on 5 randomized trials involving 233 patients in China. 2

Both studies indicated additional research is needed to better determine the potential effects of yoga on breathing and exercise in patients with COPD. 1,2


References
  1. Cramer H, Haller H, Klose P, Ward L, Chung VCH, Lauche R. The risks and benefits of yoga for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis [published online July 29, 2019]. Clin Rehabil. doi:10.1177/0269215519860551 Accessed August 28, 2019.
  2. Liu XC, Pan L, Hu Q, Dong WP, Yan JH, Dong L. Effects of yoga training in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Thorac Dis. 2014; 6(4). http://jtd.amegroups.com/article/view/2672/3227. Accessed August 28, 2019.