Yoga Could be an Effective Natural Treatment for Individuals with Heart Failure

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Routine yoga therapy has shown endurance, strength, balance, symptom stability and quality of life improvements in individuals with heart failure.

Yoga could be a natural form of treatment to improve the quality of life of individuals with heart failure. Researchers conducted a recent study that assessed the outcome of yoga therapy to find the benefit connected to treat heart failure. The findings resulted in improvements to the physical well-being of individuals, along with better functioning of the left ventricular.

Women exercising in fitness studio yoga classes- Image credit: Somkiat | stock.adobe.com

Image credit: Somkiat | stock.adobe.com

“Yoga is a combination of mind-body techniques, which is a set of physical exercises [asana] with breathing techniques [pranayama], relaxation, and meditation that can be effectively used to stimulate physical and mental well-being,” said Ajit Singh, PhD, research scientist for the Indian Council for Medical Research at Kasturba Medical College & Hospital, Manipal Academy of Heart Education in Manipal, India, and the study’s lead author, in a press release.

The press release noted that heart failure is defined as a form of cardiovascular disease. An individual experiencing heart failure has a heart muscle that is either too weak or too stiff to pump enough blood, causing fluid buildup, shortness of breath, and more complications.

The New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Classification System was created to determine how severe individuals’ symptoms are when experiencing heart failure, while measuring how effectively the heart pumps blood. This most used classification system categorizes the individuals in 4 classifications based on their limitations of physical activity. Class 1 is least severe, and Class 4 is most severe.

The researchers used the NYFA scale for 75 individuals facing heart failure that were included in the study. The individuals underwent coronary intervention, revascularization, or device therapy in a tertiary care center in South India, within 6 months to 1 year. Eligible patients needed to be 30 to 70 years of age, had a left ventricular ejection fraction, and less than or equal to Class 3 of the NYFA scale.

Divided into an interventional group and noninterventional group, the 35 individuals in the interventional group received yoga therapy and guideline-directed medical therapy. The remaining noninterventional group partook in standard guideline-directed medical therapy.

The interventional group were taught selected yoga therapy by yoga therapists in the hospital. The individuals took 1 week of a 60-minute session and were told to continue at home, 5 days a week for 12 weeks.

“Our patients observed improvement in systolic blood pressure and heart rate compared to patients who were on medication without yoga,” said Singh, in a press release.

At a 24- and 48-week follow-up, the intervention group individuals completed a questionnaire that assessed physical, psychological, social, and environmental health based on the World Health Organization Quality of Life scale. They showed improvements in functional outcomes assessed by the NHYA classifications.

“This study proves that the addition of yoga therapy to standard medical management of heart failure leads to an improvement in left ventricular systolic function and quality of life in heart failure patients,” said Singh, in a press release. “Hence, yoga therapy may improve physical well-being and left ventricular function among heart failure patients on guideline-directed optimal medical therapy.”

Reference

Yoga improves quality of life, cardiovascular function in heart failure patients. EurekAlert!. News release. September 26, 2023. Accessed September 26, 2023. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/1002648.

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