Clinical Trials/Studies of Yoga to treat Cancer, Stress, Depression and More

Yogathon image

I have been a regular practitioner of Iyengar Yoga for 2+ years now and have been lucky to be introduced to it in 2005. In various classes you hear the teachers explain the various physiological benefits of the yoga asanas, besides the fact that the practice helps you train your mind and bod to find balance and achieve union.

So i came back today and did a quick search on to find how many clinical trials are underway involving Yoga as a treatment/therapy. So here is what i found

I. Twenty different YOGA  treatments that are being studied in clinical trials. These are as listed below (note some are just different names for the same thing)

1. Yoga (13 trials in total)

2. Yoga therapy (6 trials in total)

The rest all have one trial each

3. 8 weeks of Iyengar Yoga
4. Pranayama (Yoga Breathing) Techniques
5. Yoga exercise program
6. Yoga of Awareness Program
7. Yoga treatment
8. Hatha yoga
9. Iyengar Yoga
10. Facial Yoga Toning Program
11. Restorative yoga
12. Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) – that is a breathing technique taught by the Art of Living
13. Tai Chi and/or Yoga Training
14. Tibetan Yoga
15. Yoga  Group
16. Yoga Classes
17. Yoga exercise program
18. Yoga training
19. Yoga treatment
20. Yoga, Relaxation Exercises, Sleep Hygiene

B. So, next i looked up  what conditions are these trials being conducted for. And i found a variety of such conditions as

1. Insomnia (trials being done to see if people can sleep better because of doing yoga)

2. Cancers such as breast cancer (atleast 5 trials), ovarian cancer. These studies are mostly to see the effects of yoga on reducing the side effects of chemotherapy and its effect on improving the  quality of life

3. To reduce fatigue,  cancer fatigue, stress and Depression

4. Reduce headache in adolescents

5. Epilepsy

6. Cardiovascular diseases such as Atrial Fibrillation, Cardiac Failure,  and Hypertension

7. Post traumatic stress disorder

8. Rheumatiod arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia

9. Bipolar disorder, dysthymia and major depression

10. Chronic Pain, Lower back pain

B. So what are some of the clinical trial? I am just mentioning 2-3 of these trials – (will provide a full list shortly)

1. A Yoga and Wellness Program for Breast Cancer Survivors With Persistent Fatigue –  This randomized controlled trial will compare the effectiveness of an Iyengar Yoga intervention to a Wellness Seminar health education lecture series, for improvements in energy, mood and biological functioning in breast cancer survivors with persistent, post-treatment fatigue.

2.  Effect of Yoga Vs. Stretching on Chronic Back Pain. This study will compare the effectiveness of yoga classes, exercise classes, and a self-care
book in the management of pain and function for people with low back pain.

C. I also looked up who is sponsoring these trials. Among the funders and sponsors, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) leads the way with funding for some 4 trials. Some of the other sponsors are listed below

1. Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital & Richard J. Solove Research Institute (3 trials)

2. Wake Forest University  (2 trials)

3. University of California San francisco (UCSF)

4. MD Anderson Center

5. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

6. Johns Hopkins University

7. Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center

8. The Cleveland Clinic

9. University of Iowa

10. Fox chase Cancer Center

11. Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

So that was pretty exciting – a total of 34 clinical trials related to 20 yoga related treatments are currently active and looking to enroll approximately 3000 patients all across the country. And some of these trials are being sponsored and conducted by top medical centers and organizations in the country.

It would be definitely very interesting to followup with the trials to see the results of Yoga in improving the conditions and quality of life for these patients. I so believe it should work because every class of Yoga i go to leaves me feeling energized, revitalized and elevated

About the Author

7 thoughts on “Clinical Trials/Studies of Yoga to treat Cancer, Stress, Depression and More

  1. I am an exercise phyisologist in a large hospital wellness center. I am a cancer exercise specialist as well as one of our yoga instructors. I am looking for the evidence based studies to support what I want to do with cancer patients and survivors here in our hospital. We are located in Longview, Texas. Thanks for the prompt response.

  2. Pingback: Scientific Evidence for the Benefits of Yoga

  3. Pingback: Therapeutic Yoga for Cancer Survivors | YogaReach is run by Char Grossman - Specializing in Cancer Survivors, Hip Replacement Recovery and Adaptive Recreation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *