yoga science - the evidence

Research has found yoga effective in many areas of wellbeing from musculo-skeletal fitness to internal medicine and mental health

Benefits have been found in:

  • back & neck pain -
  • migraine -
  • arthritis -
  • respiratory health -
  • blood pressure -
  • cholesterol profile -
  • stress -
  • anxiety -
  • depression
  • & much more


yoga for back pain


The evidence for yoga helping manage and treat low back pain has been well established

Three systematic reviews (Singh; 2016. Diaz 2013 & Cramer 2013) found yoga efficacious in

  • alleviating low back pain and disability
  • reducing medication usage and improving quality of life
  • reducing associated stress & depression

more info . . . .


Two systematic reviews on yoga for neck pain found positive links between yoga and reduction in pain and disability

Kim (2016) reviewed just 3 trials. Despite apparent benefits a high risk of bias emphasized the need for further well conducted studies

Crow (2015) reviewed 6 trials with 570 patients practising Iyengar yoga. The results are favourable for short term relief. Longer term benefit has yet to be demonstrated

more info . . . .


Osteo-arthritis (O/A) refers to joint pain associated with wear-and-tear

O/A is associated with age, but can happen in younger people, eg after injury

Kan (2016) systematically reviewed yoga for knee osteo-arthritis and found improvements in pain and mobility within two weeks of yoga practice

more info . . . .


individual practising yoga and meditation


A recent review (Chu 2014) found yoga improved cardiovascular health and metabolic syndrome* at levels comparable to aerobic exercise, with positive effects on

  • body-mass index
  • blood pressure
  • heart-rate
  • & blood cholesterol

*(Metabolic syndrome combines high blood pressure, high blood sugar, over-weight and abnormal cholesterol levels, and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke)

more info . . . .


"...though yoga cannot at the moment be considered a definitive treatment for asthma, it can be beneficial as an adjunct to standard medical management"

Cramer (2014) reviewed yoga for asthma. despite a lack of evidence for yoga being superior to "sham" yoga or general exercise, the team concluded that there was a demonstrably positive effect on respiratory functions and quality of life compared to usual care and psychological methods of management

more info . . . .

Other areas of high-level research include


  • Efficacy and safety of meditative movement therapies in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review... Langhorst J, Klose P, Dobos GJ. Rheumatol Int. 2013


  • Effects of yoga exercises for headaches: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials Sang-Dol Kim, RN, PhD; J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Jul

more info . . . .


individual practising yoga and meditation


Chong (2011) reviwed the effects of yoga on stress-associated symptoms. The 8 studies included described beneficial effects from practising yoga:

"Despite some studies using less than adequate measurement methods, there is positive evidence that yoga can reduce perceived stress as effectively as relaxation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and dance"

more info . . . .


Kirkwood (2005) systematically reviewed the effectiveness of yoga for the treatment of clinical anxiety, concluding:

"Owing to the diversity of conditions treated and the poor quality of most of the studies, it is still not possible to say that yoga is effective in treating anxiety or anxiety disorders in general, but there are encouraging results, particularly with obsessive compulsive disorder"

more info . . . .


Systematic reviews by Pilkington (2004 ) and Cramer et al (2013) have found a positive role for yoga in depression. Cramer included twelve trials with 619 participants. Three had a low risk of bias. They conclude:

"Despite methodological drawbacks of the included studies, yoga could be considered an ancillary treatment option for patients with depressive disorders..." (Cramer, 2013)

more info . . . .

The list above is not exhaustative. Contact us with your question or request to see how yoga can help you lead a happier, healthier life

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