A new study has found that cancer patients who regularly participated in yoga classes reported an improvement in their quality of life. Regular yoga sessions reportedly helped improve patients’ mood while lessening the impact of pain and fatigue.
The study was carried out by researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Lorenzo Cohen, a professor of oncology at the center, says that the “benefits of yoga are above and beyond stretching,” and added that the study’s findings “may improve outcomes in cancer survivors.”
Cohen’s team studied just under two hundred women undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer. The women were broken into three groups, with one group doing yoga, another performing simple stretching routines, and a third doing no such physical activity.
The yoga participants attended three one-hour sessions each week for six weeks. Throughout this time Cohen’s research team regularly interviewed the participants, asking them questions about their mood, energy level, and sleep quality.
The study ultimately showed that the women who went to yoga sessions felt less fatigued and generally felt better — both emotionally and physically.
Cancer expert Dr. Barrie Cassileth says Cohen’s study confirms earlier suspicions about the benefits of yoga.
“Yoga is a very important intervention, and this was a high quality investigation,” Cassileth said. “This study looked beyond the physical benefits of yoga by looking at the physiologic measure of stress.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women. It’s estimated that more than 200,000 cases emerge in the U.S. each year.