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J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2016 Jul - Sep;7(3):158-166. doi: 10.1016/j.jaim.2015.12.001. Epub 2016 Aug 18.

Yoga-based pulmonary rehabilitation for the management of dyspnea in coal miners with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A randomized controlled trial.

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Division of Yoga and Life Science, Swami Vivekananda Yoga University, SVYASA, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. Electronic address:
Division of Yoga and Life Science, Swami Vivekananda Yoga University, SVYASA, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.



Coal mine dust exposure causes chronic airflow limitation in coal miners resulting in dyspnea, fatigue, and eventually chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Yoga can alleviate dyspnea in COPD by improving ventilatory mechanics, reducing central neural drive, and partially restoring neuromechanical coupling of the respiratory system.


To evaluate the effectiveness of Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy (IAYT) in the management of dyspnea and fatigue in coal miners with COPD.


Randomized, waitlist controlled, single-blind clinical trial. Eighty-one coal miners (36-60 years) with stable Stages II and III COPD were recruited. The yoga group received an IAYT module for COPD that included asanas, loosening exercises, breathing practices, pranayama, cyclic meditation, yogic counseling and lectures 90 min/day, 6 days/week for 12 weeks. Measurements of dyspnea and fatigue on the Borg scale, exercise capacity by the 6 min walk test, peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (SpO2%), and pulse rate (PR) using pulse oximetry were made before and after the intervention.


Statistically significant within group reductions in dyspnea (P < 0.001), fatigue (P < 0.001) scores, PR (P < 0.001), and significant improvements in SpO2% (P < 0.001) and 6 min walk distance (P < 0.001) were observed in the yoga group; all except the last were significant compared to controls (P < 0.001).


Findings indicate that IAYT benefits coal miners with COPD, reducing dyspnea; fatigue and PR, and improving functional performance and peripheral capillary SpO2%. Yoga can now be included as an adjunct to conventional therapy for pulmonary rehabilitation programs for COPD patients.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Dyspnea; Exercise capacity; Fatigue; Yoga

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