Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic illness characterized by gross inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract that can result in symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, and bloody stools. IBD is believed to be influenced by psychological factors such as stress and anxiety. Therefore, a yoga intervention that reduces stress and anxiety may be an effective complementary treatment for these disorders.
Material and methods: A total of 100 IBD patients [ulcerative colitis (UC) n = 60 and Crohn's disease (CD) n = 40] during the clinical remission phase of disease were included in the study. These patients were allocated randomly to either the yoga group that underwent an 8-week yoga intervention (physical postures, pranayama, and meditation) 1- hour/day in addition to standard medical therapy (UC, n = 30; CD, n = 20) or the control group (UC, n = 30; CD n = 20), which continued with standard medical therapy alone. The main outcome measures were cardiovascular autonomic functions, serum eosinophilic cationic protein, interleukin- 2 soluble receptors, Speilberger's State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) scores, and clinical symptoms.
Results: Before the intervention, all the outcome measures were comparable in the two groups. After the 8-week yoga intervention, fewer UC patients reported arthralgia. The number of patients reporting intestinal colic pain in the control group was higher. State and trait anxiety levels were significantly reduced in patients with UC. However, no significant changes were observed in cardiovascular autonomic functions, eosinophilic cationic proteins, or interleukin-2 soluble receptors.
Conclusions: A simplified yoga-based regimen is a safe and effective complementary clinical treatment modality for patients with inflammatory bowel disease during the clinical remission phase.