Yoga for COPD

Study Shows that Yoga Performs like Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Dr. Randeep Guleria of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi presented the results of a study comparing  a structured regimen of yoga exercises with standard pulmonary rehabilitation in those with COPD at the Annual Meeting of CHEST in Montreal on October 27, 2015. Study: The 12 week study enrolled 60 individuals who averaged 56 years of age and had been diagnosed with COPD for an average of 8 years.
  • YOGA: 30 individuals performed two one-hour sessions each week of specially designed yoga program from a professional instructor for 4 weeks. The yoga exercises included physical postures, breathing technique, mediation, and relaxation. For the next 8 weeks, the individuals performed their learned exercises on their own, but with a supervised session once every 2 weeks.
  • PULMONARY REHABILITATION: 30 individuals performed a standard program for 12 weeks.
Individuals at Pulmonary Rehabilitation performing resistance training

Individuals at Pulmonary Rehabilitation performing resistance training

  Results: After 12 weeks of participation, both groups showed modest improvements in the distance walked in 6 minutes with reduced ratings of breathlessness. Quality of life improved by an average of 32% in the yoga group and by an average of 21% in the pulmonary rehabilitation group. Statistical comparisons showed no differences between the two groups. My Comment: Yoga offers an alternative option of physical and mental activities that can be beneficial for those with COPD. This may be especially important for those who can not do typical treadmill or cycle exercises because of arthritis or other medical problems. Dr. Roger Goldstein, Director of respiratory rehabilitation at the University of Toronto commented that, “Yoga is a tremendous opportunity.”
Dr. Roger Goldstein, Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Roger Goldstein, Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Donald A. Mahler, M.D. is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. He works as a pulmonary physician at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, NH, where he is Director of Respiratory Services.