Meditative Movement Therapies and Health-Related Quality-of-Life in Adults: A Systematic Review of Meta-Analyses

PLoS One. 2015 Jun 8;10(6):e0129181. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129181. eCollection 2015.


Poor health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) is a significant public health issue while the use of meditative movement therapies has been increasing. The purpose of this investigation was to carry out a systematic review of previous meta-analyses that examined the effects of meditative movement therapies (yoga, tai chi and qigong) on HRQOL in adults. Previous meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials published up through February, 2014 were included by searching nine electronic databases and cross-referencing. Dual-selection and data abstraction occurred. The Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews Instrument (AMSTAR) was used to assess methodological quality. Standardized mean differences that were pooled using random-effects models were included. In addition, 95% prediction intervals were calculated as well as the number needed-to-treat and percentile improvements. Of the 510 citations screened, 10 meta-analyses representing a median of 3 standardized mean differences in 82 to 528 participants (median = 270) with breast cancer, schizophrenia, low back pain, heart failure and diabetes, were included. Median methodological quality was 70%. Median length, frequency and duration of the meditative movement therapies were 12 weeks, 3 times per week, for 71 minutes per session. The majority of results (78.9%) favored statistically significant improvements (non-overlapping 95% confidence intervals) in HRQOL, with standardized mean differences ranging from 0.18 to 2.28. More than half of the results yielded statistically significant heterogeneity (Q ≤ 0.10) and large or very large inconsistency (I2 ≥ 50%). All 95% prediction intervals included zero. The number-needed-to-treat ranged from 2 to 10 while percentile improvements ranged from 9.9 to 48.9. The results of this study suggest that meditative movement therapies may improve HRQOL in adults with selected conditions. However, a need exists for a large, more inclusive meta-analysis (PROSPERO Registration #CRD42014014576).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy* / methods
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Quality of Life*