About this Journal Submit a Manuscript Table of Contents
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 165410, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/165410
Review Article

Effects of Yoga on Mental and Physical Health: A Short Summary of Reviews

1Department Quality of Life, Spirituality and Coping, Center of Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Health, Witten/Herdecke University, 58313 Herdecke, Germany
2Department of Internal and Complementary Medicine, Immanuel Hospital Berlin and Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology & Health Economics, Charité-University Medical Center, 14109 Berlin, Germany
3Division of Sleep Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
4Director of Research, Patanjali Research Foundation, Haridwar 249405, India
5Group Health Research Institute, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, WA 98101, USA

Received 4 May 2012; Revised 4 July 2012; Accepted 18 July 2012

Academic Editor: Vernon A. Barnes

Copyright © 2012 Arndt Büssing et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This report summarizes the current evidence on the effects of yoga interventions on various components of mental and physical health, by focussing on the evidence described in review articles. Collectively, these reviews suggest a number of areas where yoga may well be beneficial, but more research is required for virtually all of them to firmly establish such benefits. The heterogeneity among interventions and conditions studied has hampered the use of meta-analysis as an appropriate tool for summarizing the current literature. Nevertheless, there are some meta-analyses which indicate beneficial effects of yoga interventions, and there are several randomized clinical trials (RCT’s) of relatively high quality indicating beneficial effects of yoga for pain-associated disability and mental health. Yoga may well be effective as a supportive adjunct to mitigate some medical conditions, but not yet a proven stand-alone, curative treatment. Larger-scale and more rigorous research with higher methodological quality and adequate control interventions is highly encouraged because yoga may have potential to be implemented as a beneficial supportive/adjunct treatment that is relatively cost-effective, may be practiced at least in part as a self-care behavioral treatment, provides a life-long behavioural skill, enhances self-efficacy and self-confidence and is often associated with additional positive side effects.