New research from the MD Anderson Cancer Center finds that yoga can improve quality of life for women undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer.
Already known to help with fatigue, the research shows that the benefits of yoga may extend far beyond that.
The researchers split more than 191 participants into three groups: a yoga group who focused on all aspects of the exercise, a group that just used stretching techniques from yoga, and a control group.
It was found that the simple stretching exercises counteract fatigue, but patients who participated in yoga exercises that incorporated controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques into their treatment plan also experienced improved ability to engage in their daily activities, better general health, and better regulation of cortisol (stress hormone).
Women in the yoga group were also better equipped to find meaning in the illness experience, which declined over time for the women in the other two groups.
“Combining mind and body practices that are part of yoga clearly have tremendous potential to help patients manage the psychosocial and physical difficulties associated with treatment and life after cancer, beyond the benefits of simple stretching,” said Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, professor and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at MD Anderson.
To learn more about the benefits of yoga for breast cancer patients and survivors, read this post.