Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 945895, 18 pages
Review Article

Overview of Systematic Reviews: Yoga as a Therapeutic Intervention for Adults with Acute and Chronic Health Conditions

1Department of Continuing Education, Kellogg College, University of Oxford, 60-62 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PN, UK
2Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, New Radcliffe House, Walton Street, Jericho OX2 6NW, UK
3Bodleian Health Care Libraries, University of Oxford, Old Road, Headington OX3 7LE, UK

Received 20 December 2012; Revised 21 February 2013; Accepted 21 March 2013

Academic Editor: Stefanie Joos

Copyright © 2013 Marcy C. McCall 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.


Objectives. Overview the quality, direction, and characteristics of yoga interventions for treatment of acute and chronic health conditions in adult populations. Methods. We searched for systematic reviews in 10 online databases, bibliographic references, and hand-searches in yoga-related journals. Included reviews satisfy Oxman criteria and specify yoga as a primary intervention in one or more randomized controlled trials for treatment in adults. The AMSTAR tool and GRADE approach evaluated the methodological quality of reviews and quality of evidence. Results. We identified 2202 titles, of which 41 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility and 26 systematic reviews satisfied inclusion criteria. Thirteen systematic reviews include quantitative data and six papers include meta-analysis. The quality of evidence is generally low. Sixteen different types of health conditions are included. Eleven reviews show tendency towards positive effects of yoga intervention, 15 reviews report unclear results, and no, reviews report adverse effects of yoga. Yoga appears most effective for reducing symptoms in anxiety, depression, and pain. Conclusion. Although the quality of systematic reviews is high, the quality of supporting evidence is low. Significant heterogeneity and variability in reporting interventions by type of yoga, settings, and population characteristics limit the generalizability of results.