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10-04-2012 | Mental health | Article

Yoga may benefit schizophrenia patients


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results from a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies suggest that yoga may benefit patients with schizophrenia in terms of symptom reduction and improvements in health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Writing in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, Davy Vancampfort (Catholic University Leuven, Belgium) and team explain: "Previous reviews demonstrate that yoga is effective as a complementary treatment method for major depression, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

"Its efficacy is, however, not yet systematically assessed in patients with schizophrenia."

To address this, the researchers searched the literature for randomized controlled trials that investigated the effects of yoga on Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) scores and HRQOL in patients with schizophrenia.

In all, just three studies, involving a total of 125 schizophrenia patients assigned to yoga interventions ranging from 8 to 16 months, met criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis.

Analysis of the data revealed that yoga was associated with reductions in PANSS positive and negative symptom subscale scores of 22-33% and 17-35%, respectively.

Yoga was also associated with improvements in World Health Organization Quality of Life physical, psychological, social, and environmental scores of 16-23%, 32-49%, 29-65%, and 7-19%, respectively.

There were no significant adverse events associated with yoga, the team notes.

Vancampfort and team conclude: "Although the number of randomized controlled trials included in this review was limited… [it] shows that yoga therapy can reduce general psychopathology and positive and negative symptoms and improve HRQOL in these patients."

They add that further research should investigate whether yoga can help reduce alcohol, nicotine or illegal drug use, and improve medication compliance in patients with schizophrenia.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Mark Cowen

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