Yoga is an ancient practice from traditional Indian (Ayurvedic) medicine. It usually involves breathing and meditation exercises and physical body movements or postures.
Yoga is used to relieve stress, fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and sleep troubles (insomnia). It is also used for painful conditions including nerve pain (neuropathy), headache, migraine, arthritis, low-back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and labor and delivery; and for breathing problems including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, tuberculosis, and bronchitis.
Other uses include treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Some breast cancer patients use yoga for improving emotional well-being and for reducing nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
Some stroke survivors also use yoga for improving recovery.
Some people with epilepsy use yoga to reduce the frequency of seizures.
Yoga is also used for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), symptoms of menopause, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, pancreatitis, and early orgasm in men (premature ejaculation); as well as many other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for YOGA are as follows:
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of yoga for these uses.
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice and is an important part of traditional Indian or “Ayurvedic” medicine in India. Yoga uses several exercises including breathing, meditation, and body posture exercises. Many different styles of yoga exist that use a variety of techniques. The purpose of yoga is to achieve self-realization or enlightenment. Today it is also used for a variety of medical conditions and to maintain good health.
Like other forms of exercise and meditation, yoga appears to have several potentially beneficial effects. It can affect blood pressure, blood glucose levels, stress levels, and anxiety, and can affect brain chemicals related to mood.
Yoga is safe when used appropriately. However, some forms of yoga exercises are more aggressive. Some of these might not be safe. Some reports have linked yoga exercises called “pranayam” and “Kapalabhati pranayama” to serious side effects involving the lungs.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Yoga might be safe when used during pregnancy. There are some studies showing it doesn’t seem to harm the baby. However, some aggressive forms of yoga exercises might not be safe to use during pregnancy.
Stomach-area (abdominal) surgery: There is concern that some aggressive breathing techniques, such as “Kapalabhati pranayama,” might place too much pressure on the stomach area (abdomen) and harm people who have recently had abdominal surgery.
High blood pressure: There is concern that some aggressive breathing techniques, such as “Kapalabhati pranayama,” might temporarily increase blood pressure and harm people with uncontrolled high blood pressure.
It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines.
Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
The appropriate or safe use of yoga depends on several factors such as the condition being treated or the person administering the treatment. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before using this treatment.
Natural Medicines disclaims any
responsibility related to medical consequences of using any medical
product. Effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this
Natural Medicines monograph is accurate at the time it was published.
However, we cannot guarantee the information is error-free and disclaim
any liability or responsibility for any reliance on it. The information
is also not intended to be a substitute for medical or other
professional advice, and you should not use any product or substances
reference herein without consulting a medical professional. Consumers
and medical professionals who consult this Natural Medicines
monograph are cautioned that any medical or product related decision is
the sole responsibility of the consumer and/or the health care
professional. A legal License Agreement sets limitations on downloading,
storing, or printing content from Natural Medicines. Except for any possible exceptions written into your License Agreement, no reproduction of this monograph or any content from Natural Medicines is permitted without written permission from the publisher. Unlawful to download, store, or distribute content from Natural Medicines or this site.
For the latest comprehensive data on this and every other natural medicine, health professionals should consult the Professional Version of Natural Medicines. It is fully referenced and updated daily.
© Copyright 1995-2016 Therapeutic Research Center, publishers of Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Prescriber's Letter, and Pharmacist's Letter. All rights reserved.
Discover the different ways you can help
1-877 GO KOMEN(1-877-465-6636)
Give hope to others in your situation