Asthma and yoga may seem like a match made in heaven: one is a disease that causes inflammation and constricts airflow; the other is a physical discipline that employs deep, serene breathing.
But does this mean regular yoga will help to reduce asthma symptoms? A report published in June 2014 edition of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology turns such thinking on its head. In an analysis of 14 asthma studies that looked at yoga’s effects in 824 adults from around the world, researchers found only weak evidence that the physical practice in any way assists with asthma control.
“Yoga can’t be considered a routine intervention for patients with asthma at this time, said lead author, Holger Cramer, PhD. In a press release about this analysis, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) stressed the need for those diagnosed with asthma to avoid triggers and stay faithful to allergist-prescribed daily medications. That’s the best course of action for optimal asthma control.
Still, no one is suggesting that you bid namaste to your yoga practice. “Many asthma sufferers look to complementary therapies, such as yoga, to help relieve their symptoms,” said allergist Dr. Michael Foggs, ACAAI president in 2014.
“If yoga helps them to feel better and breathe better, patients should by all means practice it. At the same time, we don’t advise that yoga be recommended to asthma sufferers as a treatment.”