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Yoga Helps Women With Breast Cancer Regain Control

Women undertaking a ten-week program of restorative yoga classes have demonstrated positive differences in aspects of mental health such as depression, positive emotions, and spirituality (feeling calm/peaceful).

The new study involved a 75 minute Restorative Yoga (RY) class intervention compared to a control group.

The investigation, published in a special issue of Psycho-Oncology focusing on physical activity, shows the women had a 50 percent reduction in depression and a 12 percent increase in feelings of peace and meaning after the yoga sessions.

RY is a gentle type of yoga which is similar to other types of yoga classes, moving the spine in all directions but in a more passive and gentle way. Props such as cushions, bolsters, and blankets provide complete physical support for total relaxation with minimal physical effort,  so people in differing levels of health can practice yoga more easily.

44 women took part in the study, with 22 undertaking the yoga classes and 22 in the waitlisted control group. All of the women had breast cancer; 34 percent were actively undergoing cancer treatment while the majority had already completed treatment.

All participants completed a questionnaire at the beginning and end of the ten-week program, asking them to evaluate their quality of life through various measures. The results clearly showed that the women who had been given the RY classes experienced a wide range of benefits compared to the control group (who were later all invited to attend identical RY classes).

“Evidence from systematic reviews of randomized trials is quite strong that mind-body therapies improve mood, quality of life, and treatment-related symptoms in people with cancer. Yoga is one mind-body therapy that is widely available and involves relatively reasonable costs,” said lead researcher Suzanne Danhauer, Ph.D., based at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

“Given the high levels of stress and distress that many women with breast cancer experience, the opportunity to experience feeling more peaceful and calm in the midst of breast cancer is a significant benefit.”

The study found that women who started with higher negative emotions and lower emotional well-being derived greater benefit from the gentle yoga intervention compared to the control group. Women in the gentle yoga group also demonstrated a significant within-group improvement in fatigue, while no such change was noted for the control group.

“This was a pilot study to identify the worthiness and feasibility of conducting a larger randomized control trial on restorative yoga and women with breast cancer,” added Danhauer.

“Our results are very promising and will allow us to embark on a much larger scale study.”

Source: Wiley-Blackwell

Yoga Helps Women With Breast Cancer Regain Control

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Yoga Helps Women With Breast Cancer Regain Control. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/02/27/yoga-helps-women-with-breast-cancer-regain-control/4454.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.