Yoga may help the symptoms of asthma, including wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath, new research has found.

calendar-icon 27 April 2016

But whether yoga helps improve lung function or has an impact on the use of medications is uncertain.

A new Cochrane Review conducted by experts and involving an editorial team based at St George’s, University of London, looked at the results from 15 trials involving 1048 men and women.

Dr Rebecca Normansell, from St George’s, University of London and Deputy Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Airways Group said: “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.

"Because there is uncertainty about the effects of yoga on lung function and use of asthma medication, it’s important that people with asthma continue to take their medication, as prescribed. The findings of this Cochrane Review will help people make more informed choices about their future treatment options.”

The review found evidence that practicing yoga might improve quality of life and symptoms to some extent for people with asthma, but whether yoga is linked to any side effects or impacts on medication use is uncertain, because only a few studies reported on this.

Researchers warned that higher-quality studies with more participants would be needed to draw any firm conclusions about the effects of yoga.

There are 5.4 million people with asthma in the UK, which means asthma affects one in every 11 people and one in five households.

Asthma is a common chronic disease affecting about 300 million people worldwide.