Muscular Dystrophy Image by KarenYeomans.com


About

Although there is no cure, yoga can help to ease the symptoms of Muscular Dystrophy and improve quality of life.

Yoga’s gentle movements in combination with pranayama (breathing techniques) can improve muscle tone and reduce pain, increasing the flow of oxygen, nutrients, and energy through the body, and enabling the more efficient expulsion of toxins.

Yoga, meditation and mindfulness can also help alleviate the depression and anxiety that characterise this debilitating illness. Calming the mind, and perhaps attending classes with fellow sufferers, can better enable the patient to cope with hope and energy.

There’s very limited clinical research in this area but the available evidence points towards pranayama as a potential way to improve pulmonary function in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.


What the clinical studies say

Yoga
  • Improves pulmonary function

The clinical studies

Effects of yoga breathing exercises on pulmonary function in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy: an exploratory analysis.
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common form of muscular dystrophy in children, and children with DMD die prematurely because of respiratory failure. We sought to determine the efficacy and safety of yoga breathing exercises, as well as the effects of those exercises on respiratory function, in such children.

METHODS: This was a prospective open-label study of patients with a confirmed diagnosis of DMD, recruited from among those followed at the neurology outpatient clinic of a university hospital in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Participants were taught how to perform hatha yoga breathing exercises and were instructed to perform the exercises three times a day for 10 months.

RESULTS:

Of the 76 patients who entered the study, 35 dropped out and 15 were unable to perform the breathing exercises, 26 having therefore completed the study (mean age, 9.5 ± 2.3 years; body mass index, 18.2 ± 3.8 kg/m(2)). The yoga breathing exercises resulted in a significant increase in FVC (% of predicted: 82.3 ± 18.6% at baseline vs. 90.3 ± 22.5% at 10 months later; p = 0.02) and FEV1 (% of predicted: 83.8 ± 16.6% at baseline vs. 90.1 ± 17.4% at 10 months later; p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS:

Yoga breathing exercises can improve pulmonary function in patients with DMD.
Citations

1
Authors

M R Rodrigues | C R Carvahlo | D F Santaella | G Lorenzi-Filho | S K Marie
Published

2014
Journal

Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia
Volume / Issue

40:2
Author's primary institution

Sports Center, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

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