Cancer survivors often report trouble sleeping and fatigue as major challenges following common treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. A recent study finds yoga to be a good option for helping breast cancer patients overcome the weakness and sleep issues that often follow these treatments.
Participating in the study were 200 women who had finished treatment for breast cancer within the previous three years and were at least two months past their last treatment. They ranged in age from 27 to 76 and did not already partake in yoga. The women were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first group took part in two 90-minute sessions of yoga per week for a three month period. The second group was the control group and participants were told they were being placed on a waiting list for the yoga sessions.
Each of the women answered detailed questions about their energy level, sleep patterns, physical activity, diet and more both before and after the study. The participants in the yoga group reported 60% less fatigue than those in the waiting list group. The yoga group also experienced better sleep. In addition, the research shows the women practicing yoga had a reduction in inflammation markers in blood tests that were conducted on the participants.
Hatha yoga is recommended for beginners and those with limited physical ability. This type of yoga combines gentle body poses with breathing and relaxation techniques. Before beginning a yoga regimen, be sure to consult with your doctor.
Source: Kiecolt-Glaser J, Bennett J, Andridge R, et al. Yoga’s impact on inflammation, mood, and fatigue in breast cancer survivors: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2014 Apr; 32 (10): 1040-1049.