Author Year of Publication Type of study Outcomes effects Description of Mechanism(s)
Balaji et al. [21] 2012 review treatment and prevention of diabetes, obesity, arthritis, cancer, immune disorders improved respiration, reduced cardiovascular risk, body mass index, blood pressure, hormone regulation, cellular metabolism.
Balk et al. [25] 2011 review improve bone health, reducing fracture risk improving balance, increases strength, reducing falls, reducing hyperkyphosis and inflammation.
Brotto et al. * [20] 2009 review treats erectile dysfunction, enhanced sexuality serotonin regulation, enhanced awareness, mental focus.
Dunn [30] 2008 review improves mood disorders, decrease perceived stress, anxiety, increased wellbeing, relaxation prevention of chronic diseases: CVD, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's improved cardiorespiration (decrease basal metabolic rate), cortisol regulation, increases feelings of satisfaction and self-control, stimulation of PNS and decrease of SNS, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, increases bioavailability and blood levels of nitric oxide, vasodilation of the CV system, increase levels of total antioxidant status (TAS) and decrease of other oxidate stress markers.
Field* [8] 2011 review prevention of CVD, obesity, decrease injury, improve wellbeing, QOL, immunity, decrease perceived stress, pregnancy complications, improves pain management exercise-training effects for improved cardiovascular and respiratory health, decrease in food consumption and speed of eating and positive food choices, attenuated weight gain, increase muscular strength and balance, decreases salivary cortisol, enhanced deep sleep leading to less P substance, stimulates Gate theory.
Hegde et al. [17] 2011 controlled clinical trial reduced oxidative stress, diabetes management reduces body mass index, improves glycemic control, levels of malondialdehde, glutathione and vitamin C.
Innes et al. [14] 2005 systematic review prevention of CVD, decrease risks associated with insulin resistance syndrome metabolism of glucose, insulin, lipid profiles anthropometric characteristics, blood pressure, oxidative stress, coagulation profiles, sympathetic activation, cardiovagal function.
Kiecolt-Glaser et al. [18] 2010 controlled clinical trial minimizes stress and inflammation minimizes inflammatory response and endocrine response
Kinser et al. * [22] 2012 review mitigate depressive symptomatology hormonal regulation (decrease cortisol), HPA axis, increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), vagus nerve stimulation via neurotransmitter, behaviour modification and group effect on mood.
Kulkarni et al. * [32] 2009 preliminary review optimal health, stress reduction, increase immunity, heightened awareness, stillness by increasing the body's store of ‘prana’, or flow of vital energy cortical and hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) interactions with a deep reach molecular action on cellular, neuro-humoral and immune system.
Kuntsevich et al. * [35] 2010 review optimize health, delay aging, ameliorate chronic illness and stress from disability  promotes restoration of physiologic setpoints to normal after derangements secondary to disease or injury, promotes homeostatic negative feedback loops over nonhomeostatic positive feedback loops in molecular and cellular interaction, quenches abnormal "noise" in cellular and molecular signaling networks arising from environmental or internal stresses.
Oswal et al. [11] 2011 randomized controlled trial speed healing of bone fracture HPA axis, oxytocin, vasodilation and increased blood flow.
Sahay [26] 2007 review diabetes management glycemic control (lower levels of fasting, postprandial blood glucose), insulin kinetics, improved body composition.
Sengupta [12] 2012 review obesity, diabetes management, CVD prevention, cancer treatment, mood enhancement, improved sleep decrease blood lipids, assist ideal body weight and body density, increase cardiorespiratory fitness, increase sensitivity of pancreatic B-cells to the glucose signal, hormonal regulation (noradrenaline, dopamine, aldosterone, luteinizing hormone, testosterone, cortisol, melatonin).
Sharma et al. [27] 2012 review diabetes management decrease in fasting blood glucose.
Streeter et al. [23] 2012 review treatment of epilepsy and depression reduces allostatic load in stress response systems and restore optimal homeostasis; increases PN, decreases HPA axis; increases GABA activity; stretches receptors in the alveoli, baroreceptors, chemoreceptors, and other sensors throughout the respiratory structures sends information about the state and activity of the respiratory system through vagal afferents and brainstem relay stations to other CNS structures.
Vera et al. [19] 2009 controlled clinical trial enhances subjective sleep quality (SSQ) hormonal modulation (cortisol, ACTH).
Wren et al. [24] 2011 review pain management decreases SNS activity, reduces inflammatory markers (tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-2, C-reactive protein), reduces stress markers (cortisol), increases strength, flexibility, circulation and cardiorespiratory capacity, reduces social isolation, fosters networks that reinforce physical activity, increases awareness of physical and mental states.
*Articles include hypotheses without empirical evidence.
Note: Outcome effects and mechanisms are described as reported by authors.
Table 1: Characteristics of included studies (ordered by study ID).