Characteristics of Yoga Users: Results of a National Survey
- 1.8k Downloads
There are limited data on the characteristics of yoga users in the U.S.
To characterize yoga users, medical reasons for use, perceptions of helpfulness, and disclosure of use to medical professionals.
Utilizing cross-sectional survey data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Alternative Medicine Supplement (n = 31044), we examined correlates of yoga use for health. The estimated prevalence from 2002 NHIS of yoga for health was 5.1% corresponding to over 10 million adults.
In 2002, yoga users were predominately Caucasian (85%) and female (76%) with a mean age of 39.5 years. Compared to non-yoga users, yoga users were more likely female (OR 3.76, 95% CI 3.11–4.33); less likely black than white (OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.53–0.80); tended to be younger; and more likely college educated (OR 2.70, 95% CI 2.37–3.08). Musculoskeletal conditions (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.42–1.83), mental health conditions (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.22–1.67), severe sprains in the last 12 months (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.22–1.81), and asthma (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.05–1.54) were independently associated with higher yoga use, while hypertension (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.64–0.95) and chronic obstructive lung disease (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.48–1.00) were associated with lower use. Yoga was most commonly used to treat musculoskeletal or mental health conditions, and most users reported yoga to be helpful for these conditions. A majority of yoga users (61%) felt yoga was important in maintaining health, though only 25% disclosed yoga practice to their medical professional.
We found that yoga users are more likely to be white, female, young and college educated. Yoga users report benefit for musculoskeletal conditions and mental health, indicating that further research on the efficacy of yoga for the treatment and/or prevention of these conditions is warranted.
KEY WORDSyoga complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) behavioral medicine
Dr. Birdee is supported by an Institutional National Research Service Award (T32AT00051–06) from National Institutes of Health. Dr. Russell Phillips is supported by a Mid-Career Investigator Award from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health (K24-AT000589). A portion of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine, Toronto, Canada, April, 2007. The contents of this manuscript are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or the National Institutes of Health. We thank Roger Davis ScD for review of an earlier version of the manuscript.
Conflict of Interest
- 1.Monier-Williams MA. Sanskrit English Dictionary 2005 Deluxe Edition: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2005; 1333.Google Scholar
- 2.Saper RB, Eisenberg DM, Davis RB, et al. Prevalence and patterns of adult yoga use in the United States: results of a national survey. Alt Ther Health Med. 2004;10:44–9.Google Scholar
- 3.Barnes PM, Powell-Griner E, McFann K, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults: United States, 2002. Advance Data. 2004;343:1–19.Google Scholar
- 4.Bertisch SM, Wee CC, McCarthy EP. Use of Complementary and Alternative Therapies by Overweight and Obese Adults. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008;16(7):1610–5.Google Scholar
- 8.Khalsa SBS. Yoga as a therapeutic intervention: A bibliometric analysis of published research studies. Ind J Physiol Pharmacol. 2004;48:269–85.Google Scholar
- 11.Jacobs BP, Mehling W, Goldberg H, et al. Feasibility of conducting a clinical trial on hatha yoga for chronic low back pain: Methodological lessons. Alt Ther Health Med. 2004;10:80–3.Google Scholar
- 12.Galantino ML, Bzdewka TM, Eissler-Russo JL, et al. The impact of modified Hatha yoga on chronic low back pain: a pilot study. Alt Ther Health Med. 2004;10:56–9.Google Scholar
- 16.Dash M, Telles S. Improvement in hand grip strength in normal volunteers and rheumatoid arthritis patients following yoga training. Ind J Physiol Pharmacol. 2001;45:355–60.Google Scholar
- 21.Sharma VK, Das S, Mondal S, et al. Effect of Sahaj Yoga on depressive disorders. Ind J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005;49:462–8.Google Scholar
- 22.Sharma VK, Das S, Mondal S, et al. Effect of Sahaj Yoga on neuro-cognitive functions in patients suffering from major depression. Ind J Physiol Pharmacol. 2006;50:375–83.Google Scholar
- 25.Holloway E, Ram FS. Breathing exercises for asthma. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online: Update Software) 2004: CD001277.Google Scholar
- 27.Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Yoga for bronchial asthma: a controlled study. Brit Med J Clin Res Ed. 1985;291:1077–9.Google Scholar
- 30.Vedanthan PK, Murthy KC, Duvall K, et al. Clinical trial of yoga techniques in university students with asthma: A controlled study. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1992;89:344.Google Scholar
- 31.Behera D. Yoga therapy in chronic bronchitis. J Assoc Phys Ind. 1998;46:207–8.Google Scholar
- 33.Vedanthan PK. Yoga breathing techniques (YBT) in COPD: a preliminary study. Am J Resp Crit Care Med. 1999;159:A818.Google Scholar
- 34.Khalsa SB. Yoga as a therapeutic intervention: a bibliometric analysis of published research studies. Ind J Physiol Pharmacol. 2004;48:269–85.Google Scholar
- 37.Broota A, Varma R, Singh A. Role of relaxation in hypertension. J Ind Acad Appl Psychol. 1995;21:29–36.Google Scholar
- 40.Patel C. Meditation in general practice. BrMed J (Clin Res Ed). 1981;282:528–9.Google Scholar
- 41.Patel C, Marmot MG, Terry DJ, et al. Trial of relaxation in reducing coronary risk: four year follow up. Brit Med J Clin Res Edn. 1985;290:1103–6.Google Scholar
- 42.Patel C, Marmot M. Can general practitioners use training in relaxation and management of stress to reduce mild hypertension? Brit Med J Clin Res Edn. 1988;296:21–4.Google Scholar