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.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01178892.