Development of a recumbent isometric yoga program for patients with severe chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis: A pilot study to assess feasibility and efficacy

Takakazu Oka, Hisako Wakita, Keishin Kimura

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Our previous randomized controlled trial demonstrated that isometric yoga in a sitting position reduces fatigue in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). However, some patients experience difficulties sitting or practicing isometric yoga in a sitting position for long periods. To date, therapeutic interventions for patients with severe symptoms have not been established. Therefore, we developed a recumbent isometric yoga program, which takes approximately 20 min to complete, designed to reduce fatigue in patients with severe CFS/ME. The aim of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility, safety, and usefulness of this program. Methods: This pilot study included 12 adult patients with CFS/ME. Six patients were reluctant to practice isometric yoga in a sitting position because of the severity of their fatigue (group 1). The remaining six patients had previously practiced isometric yoga in a sitting position (group 2). For 3 months, the patients of both groups practiced recumbent isometric yoga every 2 to 4 weeks with a yoga instructor and at home on other days if they could. The short-term effects of isometric yoga on fatigue were assessed using the Profile of Mood Status (POMS) questionnaire immediately before and after their final session with the yoga instructor. The long-term effects of isometric yoga on fatigue were assessed using the Chalder Fatigue Scale (FS) questionnaire before and after the intervention period. Adverse events, satisfaction with the program, and preference of yoga position (sitting or recumbent) were also recorded. Results: All subjects completed the intervention. In both groups, the POMS fatigue score was significantly decreased after practicing the 20-min yoga program and the Chalder FS score was decreased significantly after the 3-month intervention period. There were no serious adverse events. All subjects in group 2 preferred the recumbent isometric yoga program over a sitting yoga program. Conclusions: This study suggests that recumbent isometric yoga is a feasible and acceptable treatment for patients with CFS/ME, even for patients who experience difficulty practicing isometric yoga in the sitting position.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalBioPsychoSocial Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 3 2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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