Research: SAPER and others,

Listed in Issue 102


SAPER and others, Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies, Osher Institute, Harvard Medical School, Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA, have surveyed the prevalence and patterns of yoga practice in the United States.


Although yoga appears to be popular in the USA, there are no published studies on yoga prevalence or patterns of use. This study aimed to fill that gap.


A telephone survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2055 US adults regarding yoga practice.


The response rate was 60%. 7.5% of respondents used yoga at lest once in their life, and 3.8% had used yoga in the previous 12 months. Yoga users were more likely to be women, college educated, urban dwellers, and in the 'baby boomer' age group. They were also more likely to use other CAM therapies. 64% reported using yoga for wellness, 48% for health conditions, and 21% specifically for back or neck pain. 90% felt that yoga was very or somewhat helpful, and 76% did not report spending money on yoga.


It would appear that an estimated 15 million Americans have used yoga at least once in their lifetime, and 7.4 million have used it during the last year. It is used for both wellness and as therapy for specific health conditions, and is generally perceived as helpful and without expenditure.


Saper RB, Eisenberg DM, Davis RB, Culpepper L, Phillips RS. Prevalence and patterns of adult yoga use in the United States: results of a national survey. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 10 (2): 44-49, Mar-Apr 2004.

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