For the almost 200,000 American women who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer every year, yoga may offer respite and rejuvenation during their arduous journey with this most common form of cancer (excluding skin cancer).
A recent study from Duke University Medical Center suggested that when women with breast cancer engaged in yoga postures, meditation and breathing exercises for two months, they experienced less pain and fatigue and were significantly more relaxed.
Although this study was small, just 13 women who have advanced breast cancer, it does provide the first, tentative evidence for yoga’s potential benefits in this vulnerable population of women with limited life expectancy, says lead author of the study, Dr. James W. Carson.
Creating harmony and a sense of peace for those coping with cancer is a trying and very difficult process. While mind-body practices like yoga and tai-chi, which have been around for thousands of years, are believed to reduce stress and impart many other health benefits, validating their efficacy in rigorous scientifically-controlled studies is not easy. But this study, albeit small, does provide us with important evidence that illustrates yoga’s powerful effects in helping us react to situations, as serious as they may be, with acceptance and equanimity.
Other studies on breast cancer patients shows that yoga might assist with improving sleep, improving physical strength, boosting energy and enhancing the overall quality of life.