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ACSM In The News

ACSM is fortunate to be the go-to source on sports medicine and exercise science for several national and international media outlets. You can find some of our most recent coverage below, or you can view archived articles.  

Yoga Helps Asthma Patients in 10 Weeks

by User Not Found | Aug 01, 2011
Study shows greater quality of life, decreases symptoms

SEATTLE – Adults with asthma reported increased quality of life and reduced asthma symptoms after 10 weeks of yoga practice, according to research presented today at the 56th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in Seattle. The study followed 20 subjects age 20-65 who were beginners at yoga.

Subjects received one-hour yoga classes twice per week and were asked to practice an additional half-hour weekly at home, for a total of 2.5 hours per week. After initial warm-ups, deep breathing and stretching, the participants practiced yoga positions, or asanas. The goal was to hold poses during deep breathing. According to lead researcher Amy Bidwell, M.S., this replicates the stress of an oncoming asthma attack. Most previous research measured the acute effects of yoga on asthma—for example, after a single, two-hour session. This study, said Bidwell, looked at the effect of a 10-week training program.

Study participants completed  St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire before and after the 10-week regimen to assess impacts on their overall health, daily life and perceived well-being. The results were impressive: participants’ scores on the questionnaire improved by an average of 42.5 percent.

For Bidwell, who began practicing yoga years ago as an alternative to back surgery and now is a certified instructor, the results were dramatic but not surprising.

“I have a number of friends with asthma,” she said. “Many have side effects from taking medications such as corticosteroids. The main question was whether or not we could reduce their need for medication and improve their quality of life.”

Bidwell worked closely with a physician to design and conduct the study. He had been teaching breathing techniques to his patients. Based on the study results, he now is prescribing yoga practice as well.

Further research, said Bidwell, might include a larger sample size over a longer term. A 12-month study, for example, could incorporate the effect of changing seasons on participants’ symptoms. Bidwell said the current study supports the validity of yoga as a therapeutic tool.

“Modern medicine carries many side effects,” she said. “This is especially true with corticosteroids, which many asthmatics take for quick relief. Yoga is an excellent alterative because there are no side effects. It’s a natural, holistic discipline that can benefit a person’s body in many ways.”

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The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the  American College of Sports Medicine.

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