Meditation and yoga can be 'helpful' in improving asthma in urban adolescents, says a new study.
A new study by researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) shows that urban adolescents with asthma may experience worse outcomes when not using spiritual coping and often use complementary and alternative medicine, or integrative medicine, like prayer or relaxation, to manage symptoms.
These findings by researchers could help physicians and other providers gain insight into additional ways to help pediatric populations self-manage chronic illnesses.
The study, led by Sian Cotton, assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine, looked at urban adolescents dealing with asthma and uncovered the ways that they were both coping with their illness as well as ways coping methods affected their mental and physical health outcomes.
In the spiritual struggles analyses, outcome variables included anxiety and depressive symptoms as well as quality of life. Researchers then determined the association between spiritual struggles and health outcomes after accounting for age, gender, ethnicity and asthma severity.
"As hypothesized, religious or spiritual coping and secular coping predicted similar amounts of variance in these outcomes, similar to previous findings in adult populations, suggesting that spiritual coping is an important element to consider when caring for adolescents with asthma," said Cotton.
In the second analysis, the same group of adolescents completed a survey looking at 10 forms of complementary and alternative medicine methods used for symptom management, including prayer, guided imagery, relaxation, meditation, yoga, massage, herbs, vitamins and rubs as well as dietary changes.
"These findings show that this group of chronically ill adolescents is using complementary methods and finding them helpful," said Cotton.
"Providers should consider discussing the use of complementary or alternative medicine with their patients with asthma to help improve outcomes.
"These analyses point to findings that will help physicians care not only for patients with asthma but also for those with other chronic illnesses to ensure the best outcomes physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, producing a better quality of life," added Cotton.
The findings were presented at the National Conference in Pediatric Psychology in San Antonio.