A new research say that if a woman practices yoga for as little as three months it can beat fatigue and lower inflammation in breast cancer survivors. The fatigue can result from chemotherapy and radiation.
“Even some years out from breast cancer treatment, anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of women report substantial levels of fatigue,” said study author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Ohio State University in Columbus.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, surveyed 200 breast cancer survivors ranging from age 26 to 76, who had completed treatment for either early or later-stage breast cancer. Participants completed a questionnaire that asked details about their mood, sleeping habits and eating habits. Inflammatory markers in their blood were also measured. Then they were broken up into random groups. One group joined a 90-minute hatha yoga class twice a week for 12 weeks, while the rest were not. At the end of 12 weeks, all participants were asked to complete the questionnaire again and have their blood checked for signs of inflammation.
At the end of the series of yoga classes, the participants reported a 41 percent decrease in fatigue, a 12 percent increase in vitality, and a marked drop in inflammation markers. Three months after the yoga classes have ended, the researchers checked on the participants again, and found that the benefits of yoga continued. The women’s fatigue levels were found to be 57 percent lower and inflammation levels 13 to 20 percent lower.
“We were really surprised by the data because some more recent studies on exercise have suggested that exercise interventions may not necessarily lower inflammation unless people are substantially overweight or have metabolic problems,” said the study’s lead author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser. “In this group, the women didn’t lose weight, but we saw really marked reductions in inflammation. So this was a particularly striking finding biologically.”