Skip Navigation LinksHome > April 2014 - Volume 21 - Issue 4 > Efficacy of yoga for vasomotor symptoms: a randomized contr...
doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e31829e4baa
Original Articles

Efficacy of yoga for vasomotor symptoms: a randomized controlled trial

Newton, Katherine M. PhD1; Reed, Susan D. MD, MPH2; Guthrie, Katherine A. PhD3; Sherman, Karen J. PhD1; Booth-LaForce, Cathryn PhD4; Caan, Bette DrPH5; Sternfeld, Barbara PhD5; Carpenter, Janet S. PhD, RN, FAAN6; Learman, Lee A. MD, PhD7; Freeman, Ellen W. PhD8; Cohen, Lee S. MD9; Joffe, Hadine MD9; Anderson, Garnet L. PhD3; Larson, Joseph C. MS3; Hunt, Julie R. PhD3; Ensrud, Kristine E. MD, MPH10,11; LaCroix, Andrea Z. PhD3

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Objective: This study aims to determine the efficacy of yoga in alleviating vasomotor symptoms (VMS) frequency and bother.

Methods: This study was a three-by-two factorial, randomized controlled trial. Eligible women were randomized to yoga (n = 107), exercise (n = 106), or usual activity (n = 142), and were simultaneously randomized to a double-blind comparison of ω-3 fatty acid (n = 177) or placebo (n = 178) capsules. Yoga intervention consisted of 12 weekly 90-minute yoga classes with daily home practice. Primary outcomes were VMS frequency and bother assessed by daily diaries at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes included insomnia symptoms (Insomnia Severity Index) at baseline and 12 weeks.

Results: Among 249 randomized women, 237 (95%) completed 12-week assessments. The mean baseline VMS frequency was 7.4 per day (95% CI, 6.6 to 8.1) in the yoga group and 8.0 per day (95% CI, 7.3 to 8.7) in the usual activity group. Intent-to-treat analyses included all participants with response data (n = 237). There was no difference between intervention groups in the change in VMS frequency from baseline to 6 and 12 weeks (mean difference [yoga − usual activity] from baseline at 6 wk, −0.3 [95% CI, −1.1 to 0.5]; mean difference [yoga − usual activity] from baseline at 12 wk, −0.3 [95% CI, −1.2 to 0.6]; P = 0.119 across both time points). Results were similar for VMS bother. At week 12, yoga was associated with an improvement in insomnia symptoms (mean difference [yoga − usual activity] in the change in Insomnia Severity Index, 1.3 [95% CI, −2.5 to −0.1]; P = 0.007).

Conclusions: Among healthy women, 12 weeks of yoga class plus home practice, compared with usual activity, do not improve VMS frequency or bother but reduce insomnia symptoms.

© 2014 by The North American Menopause Society.


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