Yoga is adjunctively utilized outside the United States in the treatment of a variety of diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but there are no studies assessing its adjunctive efficacy in the United States. We prospectively evaluated the effects of yoga training on the quality of life (QOL) and the parameters of lung function in patients with COPD. Thirty-three patients with documented COPD, per Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease criteria, were recruited. All patients received standard COPD care. The QOL was assessed by the St. George Respiratory questionnaire. Standard spirometry and maximum inspiratory (maximal inspiratory pressure) and expiratory pressure (maximal expiratory pressure) were measured. Patients were taught selected yoga exercises including breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga postures for 1 hour, thrice a week for 6 weeks by a certified yoga therapist. The quality of life and lung function were again assessed at the end of 6 weeks. Twenty-two patients completed the study. Differences in preyoga versus postyoga scores were evaluated using paired t-tests. Statistically significant improvements (P < 0.05) were observed for the St. George Respiratory questionnaire [95% confidence interval (CI) 43.13-58.47], vital capacity (95% CI 2.53-7.65), maximal inspiratory pressure (95% CI 6.62-23.64), and maximal expiratory pressure (95% CI 1.63-13.81). Yoga when practiced by patients with COPD results in improvement in the QOL and lung function on a short-term basis. Additional research is needed to confirm these findings in a randomized controlled trial and in the longer term.
Am J Ther. 2010 Oct 22. Fulambarker A, Farooki B, Kheir F, Copur AS, Srinivasan L, Schultz S. 1Pulmonary Division, Department of Medicine, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science/The Chicago Medical School, North Chicago, IL; and 2VA Great Lakes Health Care System, North Chicago, IL.