Aim: To evaluate the effects of a yoga-based exercise program on pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and biochemical markers in hemodialysis patients.
Materials and methods: In 2004 a randomized controlled trial was carried out in the outpatient hemodialysis unit of the Nephrology Department, Uludag University Faculty of Medicine. Clinically stable hemodialysis patients (n=37) were included and followed in two groups: the modified yoga-based exercise group (n=19) and the control group (n=18). Yoga-based exercises were done in groups for 30 min/day twice a week for 3 months. All of the patients in the yoga and control groups were given an active range of motion exercises to do for 10 min at home. The main outcome measures were pain intensity (measured by the visual analogue scale, VAS), fatigue (VAS), sleep disturbance (VAS), and grip strength (mmHg); biochemical variables-- urea, creatinine, calcium, alkaline phosphatase, phosphorus, cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglyceride, erythrocyte, hematocrit--were evaluated.
Results: After a 12-week intervention, significant improvements were seen in the variables: pain -37%, fatigue -55%, sleep disturbance -25%, grip strength +15%, urea -29%, creatinine -14%, alkaline phosphatase -15%, cholesterol -15%, erythrocyte +11%, and hematocrit count +13%; no side-effects were seen. Improvement of the variables in the yoga-based exercise program was found to be superior to that in the control group for all the variables except calcium, phosphorus, HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Conclusion: A simplified yoga-based rehabilitation program is a complementary, safe and effective clinical treatment modality in patients with end-stage renal disease.