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Research: Yoga & cancer

Patients undergoing radiotherapy who practiced a 60 minute yoga class 3 time per week for 6 weeks experienced:

  • reduced cortisol levels
  • improved physical functioning
  • less fatigue (Chandwani, 2014)

Cancer survivors who practiced 12 weeks of Hatha yoga for 90 minutes 2x’s a week experienced:

  • improved sleep
  • reduced inflammation (Kiecolt-Glaser 2014)

After 7-weeks of yoga, cancer survivors experienced:

  • reduced mood disturbance & stress symptoms
  • improved health-related quality of life (HRQL) (Mackenzie 2013)

A meta-analysis of published RCTs involving cancer patients & survivors showed yoga:

  • reduced distress, fatigue, anxiety & depression
  • increased general quality of life (QoL), emotional function & social function and well-being (Buffart 2012)

Breast cancer survivors who practiced Iyengar Yoga showed improvement in fatigue scores from pre- to post-yoga intervention. Improvement was maintained at the 3-month post-intervention followup. (Bower 2012)

132 published studies.18 RCTs reported positive effects in yoga intervention groups:

  • treatment-related side effects
  • QOL scores
  • emotional well-being (Cramer 2012)

A literature review reported yoga:

  • improved sleep & QoL
  • reduced anxiety, depression, distress, post-chemotherapy nausea & vomiting (Harder 2012)

25 breast cancer survivors with low QoL showed improvement in depression & anxiety scores after yoga intervention. (Levine)

39 patients with lymphoma participated in 7 weekly yoga sessions or wait-list control. Patients in the yoga intervention reported:

  • lower sleep disturbance scores: sleep quality, faster sleep latency, longer sleep duration
  • reduced use of sleep medications (Cohen)

Yoga meets ACS recommendations for increasing physical activity during & after breast cancer treatment & induces relaxation. Patients in the study reported:

  • benefits from structure & intensity level of the class (75% of patients)
  • reduced joint aches & shoulder stiffness (25%)
  • decreased stress levels (88%)
  • improved mood with less anxiety (63%) (Blank)

Findings suggest practicing yoga reduces postoperative distress, prevents immune suppression following surgery; reduced anxiety, depression and treatment-related symptoms. Yogis also reported improved QoL (Rao)

Yogic breathing (pranayama) intervention improved sleep disturbance, anxiety & mental quality of life among 16 cancer patients receiving chemotherapy (Dhruva)



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