Objective: To compare two breathing exercises (Buteyko and pranayama) with a control group in patients with asthma.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Subjects: One hundred and twenty subjects were randomized to three groups through block randomization. Subjects with an Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire score <5.5 participated in the study.
Setting: Outpatient pulmonary medicine department.
Interventions: Subjects in the Buteyko and pranayama groups were trained for 3-5 days and instructed to practise the exercises for 15 minutes twice daily, and for three months duration. The control group underwent routine pharmacological management during the study period.
Outcome measures: Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire, Asthma Control Questionnaire and pulmonary function test.
Results: The baseline characteristics were similar in all three groups. Post intervention, the Buteyko group showed better trends of improvement (mean (95% confidence interval), P-value) in total Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire score than the pranayama (0.47 (-0.008-0.95), P = 0.056) and control groups (0.97 (0.48-1.46), P = 0.0001). In comparison between the pranayama and control groups, pranayama showed significant improvement (0.50 (0.01-0.98), P = 0.042) in total Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire score.
Conclusion: The Buteyko group showed better trends of improvement in quality of life and asthma control than the group performing the pranayama breathing exercise.