Yoga as an Intervention for Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of the Evidence and Future Directions
- *Corresponding Author:
- Gwynette MF
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, SC 29425, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: September 26, 2015; Accepted: November 16, 2015; Published: November 23, 2015
Citation: Gwynette MF, Warren NJ, Warthen J, Truleove JS, Ross CP, et al. (2015) Yoga as an Intervention for Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of the Evidence and Future Directions. Autism Open Access 5:157. doi:10.4172/2165-7890.1000157
Copyright: © 2015 Gwynette MF, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Background: The increase in prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has led to a corresponding surge in demand for novel, effective, and safe clinical interventions. Evidence-based treatment options for ASD are limited, resulting in a high utilization rate of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments in the ASD population. Yoga is a CAM practiced by over 20 million people in the United States, and multiple studies have investigated yoga as a possible effective treatment intervention for patients with ASD. Patients with ASD could potentially benefit from yoga either directly, through the targeting of core ASD symptoms, or indirectly through the improvement of commonly occurring co-morbid psychiatric conditions.
Objective: To review the evidence for yoga as an effective treatment option for patients with ASD. Method: Using a variety of online databases, including PubMed, PsychINFO, Scopus, CINAHL, and Google Scholar, published studies meeting the authors' selection criteria were reviewed for evidence of improvement in core ASD and related symptoms in patients with ASD.
Results: There is a paucity of studies published in peer-reviewed journals that met the search criteria. While each of the studies investigated the use of yoga with ASD subjects, they targeted a broad range of symptom clusters, and varied greatly in overall quality, methods, outcome measures, and results.
Conclusion: Based on published studies, there is little current evidence that yoga improves core autism symptoms and co-morbid psychiatric symptoms in patients with ASD. However, there is a clear need for additional, larger randomized trials targeting both core ASD symptoms and co-morbid psychiatric conditions. Future clinical trials should utilize more uniform intervention methods, a standardized set of outcome measures, and blinded raters in order to determine whether yoga is indeed an evidence-based treatment option for patients with ASD.