Yoga helps cancer patients

Yoga helps cancer patients

If you are, or someone you know is, going through chemotherapy, regular sessions of Tibetan yoga may help alleviate side effects. Women who participated in the practice four times a week slept better and had more energy during their cancer treatments, according to studies done by the University of Texas.

The study included 227 women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer who were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group practiced Tibetan yoga at least twice a week, another group did a simple stretching program, and the third (“control group”) received usual care.

Women in the yoga group reported fewer sleep problems and less daytime drowsiness over the long term than those in the other two groups. The women were assessed one week after the end of the program, and  followed up with them three, six and 12 months later.

Sleep problems and fatigue are common among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, said study author Lorenzo Cohen (director of the integrative medicine program at the University of Texas).

“While the effects of this intervention were modest, it is encouraging to see that the women who practiced yoga outside of class had improved sleep outcomes over time. Previous research has established that yoga effectively reduces sleep disturbances for cancer patients, but have not included active control groups or long-term follow-up. This study hoped to address previous study limitations,” he added.

Tibetan yoga focuses on continuous, flowing, mindful movements, as opposed to stationary poses.

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