Efficacy of yoga for vasomotor symptoms: A randomized controlled trial

Katherine M. Newton, Susan D. Reed, Katherine A. Guthrie, Karen J. Sherman, Cathryn Booth-Laforce, Bette Caan, Barbara Sternfeld, Janet S. Carpenter, Lee A. Learman, Ellen W. Freeman, Lee S. Cohen, Hadine Joffe, Garnet L. Anderson, Joseph C. Larson, Julie R. Hunt, Kristine E. Ensrud, Andrea Z. Lacroix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: This study aims to determine the efficacy of yoga in alleviating vasomotor symptoms (VMS) frequency and bother. METHODS: This study was a three-by-two factorial, randomized controlled trial. Eligible women were randomized to yoga (n = 107), exercise (n = 106), or usual activity (n = 142), and were simultaneously randomized to a double-blind comparison of ω-3 fatty acid (n = 177) or placebo (n = 178) capsules. Yoga intervention consisted of 12 weekly 90-minute yoga classes with daily home practice. Primary outcomes were VMS frequency and bother assessed by daily diaries at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes included insomnia symptoms (Insomnia Severity Index) at baseline and 12 weeks. RESULTS: Among 249 randomized women, 237 (95%) completed 12-week assessments. The mean baseline VMS frequency was 7.4 per day (95% CI, 6.6 to 8.1) in the yoga group and 8.0 per day (95% CI, 7.3 to 8.7) in the usual activity group. Intent-to-treat analyses included all participants with response data (n = 237). There was no difference between intervention groups in the change in VMS frequency from baseline to 6 and 12 weeks (mean difference [yoga-usual activity] from baseline at 6 wk,-0.3 [95% CI,-1.1 to 0.5]; mean difference [yoga-usual activity] from baseline at 12 wk,-0.3 [95% CI,-1.2 to 0.6]; P = 0.119 across both time points). Results were similar for VMS bother. At week 12, yoga was associated with an improvement in insomnia symptoms (mean difference [yoga-usual activity] in the change in Insomnia Severity Index, 1.3 [95% CI,-2.5 to-0.1]; P = 0.007). CONCLUSIONS: Among healthy women, 12 weeks of yoga class plus home practice, compared with usual activity, do not improve VMS frequency or bother but reduce insomnia symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-346
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Clinical Trials Network
  • Hot flashes
  • Meditation
  • Menopause
  • Vasomotor symptoms
  • Yoga


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