Women undergoing treatment for breast cancer have benefited from practising yoga, according to one of the first scientific studies of its kind. Researchers at the University of Texas focused on 61 women who had undergone surgery for breast cancer and were receiving six weeks of radiation treatment.
Thirty women were assigned to a test group that took twice-a-week yoga classes, while the others were not. At the end of six weeks, study participants filled out detailed questionnaires grading their ability to lift groceries, walk and perform other activities.
Participants were also asked about feelings of tiredness and their sense of wellbeing.
The yoga group consistently had higher scores in almost every area and particularly reported that they were in better health, were less fatigued and had fewer problems with daytime sleepiness. No differences were found in the areas of depression or anxiety.
Lorenzo Cohen, a psychologist who led the pilot study, says that despite being small in scale, the research is one of the few to attempt to rigorously measure the benefits of yoga.