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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 7 (2010), Issue 4, Pages 399-408

Yoga Practice for the Management of Type II Diabetes Mellitus in Adults: A systematic Review

1University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
2University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Received 4 December 2007; Accepted 4 April 2008

Copyright © 2010 Badr Aljasir 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.


The effect of practicing yoga for the management of type II Diabetes was assessed in this systematic review through searching related electronic databases and the grey literature to the end of May 2007 using Ovid. All randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) comparing yoga practice with other type of intervention or with regular practice or both, were included regardless of language or type of publication. Each study was assessed for quality by two independent reviewers. Mean difference was used for summarizing the effect of each study outcomes with 95% confidence intervals. Pooling of the studies did not take place due to the wide clinical variation between the studies. Publication bias was assessed by statistical methods. Five trials with 363 participants met the inclusion criteria with medium to high risk of bias and different intervention characteristics. The studies’ results show improvement in outcomes among patients with diabetes type II. These improvements were mainly among short term or immediate diabetes outcomes and not all were statistically significant. The results were inconclusive and not significant for the long-term outcomes. No adverse effects were reported in any of the included studies. Short-term benefits for patients with diabetes may be achieved from practicing yoga. Further research is needed in this area. Factors like quality of the trials and other methodological issues should be improved by large randomized control trials with allocation concealment to assess the effectiveness of yoga on diabetes type II. A definitive recommendation for physicians to encourage their patients to practice yoga cannot be reached at present.