Yoga as an Alternative and Complimentary Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of disability and death worldwide. Yoga, a mind-body exercise, utilizes breathing techniques with low-impact physical activity that may be an alternative treatment for cardiovascular disease. The purpose of this systematic review was to examine yoga interventions for patients at-risk for and/or suffering from cardiovascular disease. The inclusion criteria for interventions were (a) published in the English language between 2005 and 2015; (b) indexed in MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, or Alt HealthWatch; (c) employed a quantitative design; and (d) applied a yoga intervention. Twelve interventions met the inclusion criteria, of which, all documented significant improvements in one or more factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Limitations to the studies in this review included a lack of studies adhering to the inclusion criteria, small sample sizes, and high attrition rates. Despite the limitations, this review demonstrates the clear potential yoga has as an alternative and complementary means to improve cardiovascular disease risk.

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