Introduction: Previous studies have suggested that yoga may have a positive impact on lung function and quality of life (QoL) and hence the present prospective two-arm single-blinded controlled study evaluated effect of adjuvant yoga therapy on pulmonary function and QoL of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Material and methods:In this interdisciplinary collaborative work, 72 COPD patients were recruited after obtaining informed consent and randomized to yoga group (22 M and 14 F) who received adjuvant yoga therapyin addition to standard medical management and control group (20 M and 16 F) who received only medical management. Yoga therapy protocol validated by CYTER was used and this included loosening exercises, postures (asanas), vitalising breathing techniques (pranayama) and relaxation. Forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in first second (FEV1) and FEV1/FVCwere measured using standard computerized pulmonary function test ‘Trueflow (ndd)’ before and after study period of 4 weeks. Saint George Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) was used to asses QoL. Changes in pulmonary function parameters were correlated with QoL (symptoms, activity, impacts and quality) scores. Intra-group comparisons were done using Student’s paired ‘t’ test and intergroup comparisons using unpaired ‘t’ test.
Results:There was significant improvement (p < 0.01) in body weight, BMI, FVC and FEV1 after four weeks of adjuvant yoga therapy while controls showedsignificant decline in all parameters. There were improvements in all QoL scores, namely symptoms score (p<0.001) and activity score (p<0.05), impacts score (p<0.01) and quality score (p<0.001)in yoga group while no significant changes in controls.Significant correlation was found between pulmonary function and QoL in Yoga group.
Discussion:Significant improvements of lung function with adjuvant yoga therapy can be attributed to comprehensive yoga therapy package administered to participants. This may be due to with decreased airway resistance and better lung compliance attributed to nonspecific broncho-protective or broncho-relaxing effect. Significant improvement in QoL scores implies patients were able to participate in more activities than earlier, and this can be attributed to improved vital capacity as well as enhanced self-confidence /self-reliance. Our results are consistent with previous such studies and we conclude that yoga has a positive and additive role as an adjuvant therapy along with standard medical management of COPD.
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