By Amy Weintraub
In two separate studies, Yoga has been shown to help Breast Cancer Patients. In one 3-month study done in Bangalore, India, 45 patients were randomized to a daily yoga intervention and 46 to standard supportive counselling. The subjects, with an average age of 50.5 years, were assessed at baseline and after the intervention. The yoga intervention was resoundingly effective in improving psychosocial states, reducing anxiety, depression, fatigue, cognitive function, and quality of life, as compared to the control group.
Yoga for Breast Cancer Patients
The yoga group also showed a significant decrease in early morning (6:00 am) cortisol levels, which is a measure of stress. After the intervention, there was also a significant increase in the percentage of natural killer cells in the yoga group, compared with the control group. Previous research has demonstrated that natural killer cells, which are naturally occurring cytotoxins, play a therapeutic role in the treatment of human cancers.
In the second study, after three months of twice-weekly yoga classes, a group of breast cancer survivors in California reported significantly diminished fatigue and increased “vigor.” A control group of women who took classes in post-cancer health issues, but didn’t do yoga, had no changes in their fatigue or depression levels.
Cancer. 2011 Dec 16. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26702
A third recently published study published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research, discovered that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a form of meditation that also incorporates yoga can help breast-cancer survivors “improve their emotional and physical well-being.” The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri, concluded that “breast cancer survivors who learned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction lowered their blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate, and their mood improved.”