By Michelle Whitmer, Medical Writer & Editor for The Mesothelioma Center.
To anyone coping with breast cancer, the promise of better health, a calmer mind, and greater importance in the cancer experience could sound like a miracle. And it was certainly a miracle for the women who reported such benefits after participating in scientific studies examining the effects of yoga on breast cancer patients.
Although the Benefits of Yoga are widely reported by its practitioners; scientific studies on the old system are seldom funded. Because doctors rarely hear about the clinical benefits of yoga for cancer patients, some are reluctant to recommend yoga as a complementary therapy.
Although there have been few scientific studies on yoga in the past, they are getting more and more funding and are becoming more common. Several studies have examined the effects of yoga on breast cancer patients, and more are in preparation. Advances in clinical research may be slow, but the results confirm what practitioners have touted for the ages: Yoga improves mental, emotional, and physical health.
Yoga calms the mind and relieves symptoms
A yoga study conducted at the Integrative Medicine Center at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas included 59 women Level I. from III breast cancer treated less than a year before registration.
The yoga program in which the women participated consisted of four components: Breathing exercises, Meditation, seated yoga postures and movement-oriented yoga postures. All techniques were learned either on a chair or on a pillow on the floor. The women attended a one-hour class once a week for seven weeks and were provided with printed matter and tapes to take home that discussed what they had learned during the class. They were encouraged to practice at home daily and continue to practice after completing the seven-week course.
The women completed questionnaires a week after the last class and after one to three months to assess and assess the physical and psychological effects. The results showed a decrease in cancer-related symptoms and cancer-related intrusive thoughts; This means that the yoga program not only relieved symptoms but also improved peace of mind.
Yoga improves physical functioning and overall health perception
Another yoga study at the same center included 61 women with breast cancer who were undergoing radiation therapy. The yoga class was very similar to the program in the previous study, but the women attended one-hour classes twice a week for the duration of their radiation therapy. Participants also received materials reviewing techniques for improving their home practice.
The women completed questionnaires one week after their last program before the program started Radiation therapy sessionand after one and three months. One week after radiotherapy, women reported improved overall health perception and physical function.
An interesting positive correlation was found for one- and three-month markers, which piqued the researchers’ interest. One month after completing radiation therapy, women reported greater amounts of cancer-related intrusive thoughts. Three months after therapy, the same women reported higher mean finding scores related to the ability to make sense of their cancer experience.
The correlation suggested to the researchers that women who observed more intrusive thoughts also found more importance in the experience. In a sense, yoga practice may have helped the thoughts rise to the surface of the participants’ consciousness, allowing the women to acknowledge the intrusive thoughts and process the thoughts into greater meaning.
The same researchers received a $ 2.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute in 2009 to study the effects of yoga on breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. The study is currently ongoing at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and is actively recruiting women. The research was completed in April 2014 and the participants did more To report miracles.
Author biography: Michelle Whitmer was a medical writer and editor for The Mesothelioma Center Michelle is a certified yoga teacher and received her BA in environmental studies from Rollins College, Florida. She focuses on the benefits of natural and holistic medicine for cancer patients.