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Journal of Diabetes Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 6979370, 23 pages
Review Article

Yoga for Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review of Controlled Trials

1Department of Epidemiology, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
2Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

Received 2 June 2015; Revised 19 August 2015; Accepted 26 August 2015

Academic Editor: Mitsuhiko Noda

Copyright © 2016 Kim E. Innes and Terry Kit Selfe. 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.


A growing body of evidence suggests yogic practices may benefit adults with type 2 diabetes (DM2). In this systematic review, we evaluate available evidence from prospective controlled trials regarding the effects of yoga-based programs on specific health outcomes pertinent to DM2 management. To identify qualifying studies, we searched nine databases and scanned bibliographies of relevant review papers and all identified articles. Controlled trials that did not target adults with diabetes, included only adults with type 1 diabetes, were under two-week duration, or did not include quantitative outcome data were excluded. Study quality was evaluated using the PEDro scale. Thirty-three papers reporting findings from 25 controlled trials (13 nonrandomized, 12 randomized) met our inclusion criteria (N = 2170 participants). Collectively, findings suggest that yogic practices may promote significant improvements in several indices of importance in DM2 management, including glycemic control, lipid levels, and body composition. More limited data suggest that yoga may also lower oxidative stress and blood pressure; enhance pulmonary and autonomic function, mood, sleep, and quality of life; and reduce medication use in adults with DM2. However, given the methodological limitations of existing studies, additional high-quality investigations are required to confirm and further elucidate the potential benefits of yoga programs in populations with DM2.