CHEST Annual Meeting
CHEST Annual Meeting
October 26, 2015
2 min read

Yoga is an effective treatment for COPD

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MONTREAL — Yoga proved as effective as traditional pulmonary rehabilitation programs in the improvement of pulmonary functions and 6 minute walking distance in patients with COPD, according to study results presented at CHEST Annual Meeting 2015.

"Our feeling is yoga is a good modality of treatment in pulmonary rehabilitation," Randeep Guleria, MD, DM, head of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, told "It is cost effective, it is also useful for those patients who cannot do rehabilitation because of [perhaps] osteoarthritis or they have difficulty walking. You can be sitting and doing all those exercises."

Guleria and colleagues randomly divided 60 patients with COPD into two groups — one group participated in yoga and the other group took part in regular pulmonary rehabilitation.

Each group participated in 1 hour of training, twice a week for the first 4 weeks. For the remaining 8 weeks, patients participated in supervised sessions once every two weeks with the remaining sessions conducted at home.

The group that participated in yoga had a median C-reactive protein (CRP) level of 1 mg/dl and an interleukin-6 (Il-6) level of 23.1 pg/ml. After 12 weeks of training, CRP improved to 0.7 mg/dl and Il-6 improved to 32.74 pg/ml.

Six minute walking distance also improved significantly in the patients who participated in the yoga group — an increase from 419 meters at baseline to 456.43 meters after 12 weeks of training.

Patients who participated in the traditional exercises had an increase in 6 minute walking distance from 391.88 meters at baseline to 424.66 meters after 12 weeks of training.

Guleria told that the difference between the two groups was that the group participating in yoga had an increased tendency to continue the rehab after the program ended.

"We need to look at how to make it more structured. Which exercises are the best, how much time should be spent [doing yoga]," he said.

Guleria told how he envisions promoting yoga for the treatment of COPD in practice and what questions to ask in the future.

"We need to develop it into a [structured] program," he said. "Could it be covered by insurance, and suppose we combine the two — pulmonary rehab program that had yoga and yoga could continue at home. We haven’t done that but that could be done in the future, to see if a combination together is better than each of them alone." – by Ryan McDonald


Guleria R, et al. Abstract 202631. Presented at: CHEST Annual Meeting 2015; Oct. 24-28; Montreal.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.