Online yoga for people cystic fibrosis

10 July 2023

A new trial at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals aims to determine whether online yoga classes for people with cystic fibrosis (CF) could help them in overcoming physical issues such as pain and reduced flexibility, breathlessness, as well as mental health issues such as wellbeing and quality of life.

The study is co-led by Professor Nicholas Simmonds, adult CF consultant and Gemma Stanford, highly specialist physiotherapist in adult CF, in collaboration with Beam, an online exercise platform which specialises in exercise and yoga classes for people with CF.

Cystic fibrosis and exercise

CF is an inherited condition that causes sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive system, which causes lung infections and problems with digesting food.

There's currently no cure for the disease but there are a range of treatments which can help control symptoms, prevent or reduce complications, and make the condition easier to live with.

Alongside this people with CF are also usually recommended to do some exercise or physical activity regularly as there is some evidence that completing exercise is beneficial for physical and mental health.

Yoga has become a popular form of exercise for many individuals, including those with CF. However, although there is some evidence that yoga is beneficial for physical and mental health issues there is no specific evidence that it helps those with CF.

Also, many individuals with CF are unable to attend face-to-face classes due to the risk of infection.

This large multicentre national trial aims to determine whether yoga is beneficial for people with CF and whether it can be conducted remotely.

The trial

This randomised controlled trial will compare the benefits of an online yoga programme to the usual care received by people with CF.

Patients will be randomly assigned to complete either a 12-week online yoga programme, delivered through Beam, or a 12-week control period where they continue with their usual CF management.

During the trial, the research team will undertake numerous study assessments in both groups including lung function testes, sit-to-stand tests and quality of life questionnaires.

Gemma said:

“This is an exciting study looking at the holistic effects of yoga for adults with cystic fibrosis. We hope to determine if yoga is beneficial for this group, and if it can help adults with cystic fibrosis to manage their long-term condition.”

Professor Simmonds said:

“We are really excited to have received such a prestigious award to run this important research study. Its so important that we produce robust evidence for non-pharmacological interventions for conditions such as CF.

“Proving such interventions work will have a meaningful impact on improving long-term outcomes for our patients. Gemma is one of the first non-medics to co-lead such a large interventional trial. It is a testament to her hard work and dedication to CF research and clinical care.”  

Funding for the project was provided by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the project aims to start in September 2023.

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