Author(s): Park CL, Groessl E, Maiya M, Sarkin A, Eisen SV,
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: Comparison groups are essential for accurate testing and interpretation of yoga intervention trials. However, selecting proper comparison groups is difficult because yoga comprises a very heterogeneous set of practices and its mechanisms of effect have not been conclusively established. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review of the control and comparison groups used in published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of yoga. RESULTS: We located 128 RCTs that met our inclusion criteria; of these, 65 included only a passive control and 63 included at least one active comparison group. Primary comparison groups were physical exercise (43\%), relaxation/meditation (20\%), and education (16\%). Studies rarely provided a strong rationale for choice of comparison. Considering year of publication, the use of active controls in yoga research appears to be slowly increasing over time. CONCLUSIONS: Given that yoga has been established as a potentially powerful intervention, future research should use active control groups. Further, care is needed to select comparison conditions that help to isolate the specific mechanisms of yoga's effects. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Complement Ther Med
and referenced in Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy