Anyone who has taken a yoga class understands the peace of mind that follows as you roll up your mat and float out of class. And despite the mental anguish felt by women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, yoga’s ability to lift the spirits is not at all lost on the women who are grappling with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
Yoga popularity and breast cancer awareness have grown exponentially in the past years. And for good reason. More and more medical professionals are looking at mind-body techniques like yoga to improve quality of life factors, reduce illness-related stress and possibly affect treatment outcomes in individuals suffering from a chronic or acute health condition.
A 2009 study published in the journal Psycho-Oncology showed that when women with breast cancer engaged in 75 minutes of restorative yoga postures over a ten-week period, they displayed less depressive symptoms and a greater improvement in mood than those women who did not participate in the yoga classes.
Other studies have shown a similar trend, namely that when yoga is part of a woman’s cancer treatment plan, their quality of life increases and their treatment-related symptoms like anxiety, depression and lethargy are also reduced. Medical professionals who recognize how mentally, physically and emotionally taxing a breast cancer diagnosis and consequent treatments can be are calling these handful of studies very significant for women and their cancer experience.
If you or a friend are interested in taking a yoga class as part of your breast cancer treatment, talk with your doctor first and then research yoga teachers and classes in your area that specialize in restorative yoga or illness-related yoga.
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October 8th, 2009