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Practicing Yoga May Help Ease Asthma Symptoms, Claims New Study

Update Date: May 01, 2016 04:20 AM EDT

Practicing yoga can help ease breathing in asthma patients, a new study has found. According to a new study, practicing yoga may have a beneficial effect in improving symptoms and quality of life of asthma patients.

Asthma, which is a common chronic lung disease, currently affects more than 300 million people around the globe. Wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and breathing problem are some of the typical symptoms of asthma. For the purpose of the study, the team of Cochrane researchers identified 15 randomized controlled trials, which involved 1,048 men and women, between six months and 23 years old. Most of the participants had mild to moderate asthma. The trials were conducted in India, Europe and the US.

While six studies examined the effects of breathing alone during yoga exercise, the others assessed the effects of breathing, posture and meditation as well. Majority of the participants continued to take their asthma medication even during the study tenure, which ranged from 2 weeks to over 4 years. On the basis of some moderate quality evidence from five studies, the research team found that yoga reduced symptoms in asthma patients to some extent and also helped improve their overall quality of life.

"Our findings suggest that yoga exercise may lead to small improvements in asthma quality of life and symptoms," said lead author Dr Zuyao Yang from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, reported The Independent.

However, the research team was unable to find any sufficient evidence to suggest that performing yoga exercise also helps improve lung function in asthma patients, as studies investigating that factor produced varied results. Furthermore, the team was also unable to determine whether yoga can eliminate the need for asthma medication and whether the practice has any side effects on the patients.

"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," Yang noted, reported Firtspost"At present, we just don't have enough high-quality evidence to determine the effects of yoga as a type of exercise for helping people manage their asthma," said Rebecca Normansell, Deputy Coordinating Editor of the Cochrane Airways Group.

"The findings of this Cochrane Review will help people make more informed choices about their future treatment options," Normansell added. The study has been published in the journal Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

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