A systematic review of yoga interventions for helping health professionals and students

Complement Ther Med. 2021 May:58:102704. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2021.102704. Epub 2021 Feb 27.


Helping Health Professionals (HHP) and HHP students are among the highest risk occupational groups for compromised mental and physical health. There is a paucity of information regarding preventive interventions for mental and physical health in this group of healthcare providers.

Objective: The objective of this review was to examine the effectiveness of yoga interventions for the prevention and reduction of mental and physical disorders among HHPs and HHP students.

Design: An exhaustive systematic search was conducted in May 2020. Databases searched in the OVID interface included: MEDLINE(R) and Epub Ahead of Print, In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations and Daily, Embase, and PsycINFO. EbscoHost databases searched included: CINAHL Plus with Full Text, SPORTDiscus with Full Text, Alt HealthWatch, Education Research Complete, SocINDEX with Full Text, ERIC, and Academic Search Complete. Scopus was also searched.

Results: The search yielded 4,973 records, and after removal of duplicates 3197 records remained. Using inclusion and exclusion criteria, titles and abstracts were screened and full text articles (n = 82) were retrieved and screened. Twenty-five studies were identified for inclusion in this review. Most frequently reported findings of yoga interventions in this population included a reduction in stress, anxiety, depression, and musculoskeletal pain.

Conclusion: It is our conclusion that mental and physical benefits can be obtained through implementation of yoga interventions for HHPs and HHP students across a variety of settings and backgrounds. However, researchers would benefit from following recommended guidelines for the design and reporting of yoga interventions to improve study quality and rigour.

Keywords: Healthcare professional students; Healthcare professionals; Mental health; Physical health; Systematic review; Yoga.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Educational Status
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Students
  • Yoga*