Sahaja yoga in the management of moderate to severe asthma

Thorax. 2002 Feb;57(2):110-5

R Manocha1, G B Marks2,3, P Kenchington4, D Peters and C M Salome2

1 Natural Therapies Unit, Royal Hospital for Women, NSW, Australia
2 Institute of Respiratory Medicine, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia
3 South Western Sydney Clinical School, University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia
4 Concord Psychiatry Unit, NSW, Australia

Correspondence to:
Dr G B Marks, Institute of Respiratory Medicine, P O Box M77, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia;


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Sahaja Yoga is a traditional system of meditationbased on yogic principles which may be used for therapeuticpurposes. A study was undertaken to assess the effectivenessof this therapy as an adjunctive tool in the management of asthmain adult patients who remained symptomatic on moderate to highdoses of inhaled steroids.



A parallel group, double blind, randomised controlledtrial was conducted. Subjects were randomly allocated to Sahajayoga and control intervention groups. Both the yoga and thecontrol interventions required the subjects to attend a 2 hoursession once a week for 4 months. Asthma related quality oflife (AQLQ, range 0–4), Profile of Mood States (POMS),level of airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine (AHR), anda diary card based combined asthma score (CAS, range 0–12)reflecting symptoms, bronchodilator usage, and peak expiratoryflow rates were measured at the end of the treatment periodand again 2 months later.



Twenty one of 30 subjects randomised to the yoga interventionand 26 of 29 subjects randomised to the control group were availablefor assessment at the end of treatment. The improvement in AHRat the end of treatment was 1.5 doubling doses (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.0 to 2.9, p=0.047) greater in the yoga interventiongroup than in the control group. Differences in AQLQ score (0.41,95% CI –0.04 to 0.86) and CAS (0.9, 95% CI –0.9to 2.7) were not significant (p>0.05). The AQLQ mood subscaledid improve more in the yoga group than in the control group (difference 0.63, 95% CI 0.06 to 1.20), as did the summary POMS score (difference 18.4, 95% CI 0.2 to 36.5, p=0.05). There were no significant differences between the two groups at the 2 monthfollow up assessment.



This randomised controlled trial has shown thatthe practice of Sahaja yoga does have limited beneficial effectson some objective and subjective measures of the impact of asthma.Further work is required to understand the mechanism underlyingthe observed effects and to establish whether elements of thisintervention may be clinically valuable in patients with severeasthma.


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