Abstract : After an initial integrated yoga training program of 2 to 4 weeks, 570 bronchial asthmatics were followed up for 3 to 54 months. The training consisted of yoga practices-Yogasanas, Pranayama, meditation, and kriyas-and theory of yoga. Results show highly significant improvement in most of the specific parameters. The regular practitioners showed the greatest improvement. Peak expiratory flow rate (PFR) values showed significant movement of patients toward normalcy after yoga, and 72, 69, and 66% of the patients have stopped or reduced parenteral, oral, and cortisone medication, respectively.
These results establish the long-term efficacy of the integrated approach of yoga therapy in the management of bronchial asthma.
Goyeche et al., (1) have summarized the available literature on the use of yogic practices in the management of patients with bronchial asthma. Reviewing the work done in this field for about 50 years at various yoga centres of India and Japan, they have been able to show clearly the beneficial effects of yoga in bronchial asthma. Other works (2-4) delineate the rationale and principles of yoga therapy in general, while the investigations of Honsberger and Wilson (5), Erskine and Schonnell (6), and Mortens et al. (7) report the effects on bronchial asthma of meditation, relaxation therapy, and continued physical exercise. An integrated approach of yoga therapy developed from the Upanishads (the original scriptures of India) and yoga texts has been presented by Nagendra (8). We had earlier reported (9-12) the usefulness of yoga treatrnent in rehabilitation of bronchial asthmatics in smaller groups of patients.
However, most of the works in this field lack long-term follow-up programs. Our recent communication (13) describes a matched control study in which the 54 - month follow-up of 53 patients clearly established the effectiveness of an integrated approach of yoga therapy for bronchial asthma. This present work is the report of a parallel study on 570 patients followed up for 3 to 54 months.