Randomized trial of yoga as a complementary therapy for pulmonary tuberculosis

Respirology. 2004 Mar;9(1):96-101. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2003.00528.x.


Objective: The present prospective, randomized trial compared the efficacy of anti-tuberculosis treatment (ATT) with two separate programs (yoga and breath awareness), on lung capacities and bacteriological status in pulmonary tuberculosis patients.

Methodology: A total of 1009 pulmonary tuberculosis patients were screened and 73 were alternately allocated, to yoga (n = 36) or breath awareness (n = 37) groups, with 48 patients completing the 2-month trial. Patients aged between 20 and 55 years, who were sputum-positive on three consecutive examinations, had no prior ATT, and no comorbidities or extrapulmonary tuberculosis were included. In addition to ATT, one group practised yoga (n = 25) and the other practised breath awareness (n = 23) for 6 h per week, each session being 60 min. The main outcome measures were: symptom scores, bodyweight, FVC, FEV(1), FEV(1)/FVC%, sputum microscopy, sputum culture, and postero-anterior view of the CXR.

Results: At the end of 2 months, the yoga group showed a significant reduction in symptom scores (88.1%), and an increase in weight (10.9%), FVC (64.7%) and FEV(1) (83.6%) (P = 0.001, in all comparisons, paired t-test). The breath awareness group also showed a significant (paired t-test) reduction in symptom scores (16.3%, P= 0.02), and an increase in weight (2.1%, P= 0.003) and FEV(1) (63.8%, P= 0.04). Significantly more patients in the yoga group showed sputum conversion based on microscopy on days 30 and 45 compared to the breath awareness group (P = 0.045 and P= 0.002, respectively, chi(2) test). Ten of 13 in the yoga group had negative sputum culture after 60 days compared with four of 19 in the breath awareness group (P = 0.005, chi(2) test). Improvement in the radiographic picture occurred in 16/25 in the yoga group compared to 3/22 in the breath awareness group on day 60 (P = 0.001, chi(2) test).

Conclusions: The improved level of infection, radiographic picture, FVC, weight gain and reduced symptoms in the yoga group suggest a complementary role for yoga in the management of pulmonary tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Sputum / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / therapy*
  • Vital Capacity
  • Yoga*


  • Antitubercular Agents