Yoga is the preferred practice for those looking for physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, and scientists have now found the ancient technique can also benefit asthma sufferers.
Researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong studied 15 trials from around the globe, taking in results from 1,000 men and women with mild and moderate asthma. During the studies, the majority of participants continued taking their usual medicine.
Some of the trials looked at the effects of breathing along during yoga exercises, while others focused on the effects of yoga that included breathing, posture and meditation.
The studies assessed were conducted in India, Europe and America, and lasted anywhere from two weeks to over four years.
“Our findings suggest that yoga exercise may lead to small improvements in asthma quality of life and symptoms,” lead author Dr Zuyao Yang said.
“However, it is unclear whether yoga has a consistent impact on lung function and we don’t yet know if yoga can reduce people’s medication usage, or if there are any side-effects of yoga for people with asthma.”
Researchers warned that some of the trials they looked at were flawed, and it’s unclear whether yoga can end the need for asthma medication.
It’s estimated that asthma affects 300 million worldwide. The respiratory condition is marked by attacks of spasm in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing and can be connected to allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity.
Yoga and breathing exercises have the potential to relax muscles and the airways, while expanding the chest. This can make it easy to breathe, plus the sense of calm that follows yoga may help ease the chances of asthma attacks.
Results were published in the Cochrane Review.
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