Benefits of Yoga for Breast Cancer Patients

Complementing breast cancer treatment with yoga practice is found to ease discomfort and help patients to deal with the condition in a positive way.
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Dec 21, 2017
How Yoga Helps
The prescribed treatment in conjunction with yoga is helpful to enhance the quality of life of breast cancer patients.

Breast cancer patients looking for a complementary therapy that helps improve their symptoms can certainly rely on yoga, the ancient practice of holistic healing. People with breast cancer need to undergo surgery and require chemotherapy drugs or radiation to prevent the spread of cancerous cells. Post surgery and during drug treatment, patients find it difficult to resume their daily routine. The energy-sapping fatigue accompanied by anxiety and the severe side effects of the prescribed treatment, can be frustrating for a patient. However, the inclusion of yoga in the treatment plan has turned out to be a great lifestyle addition, as it has shown to improve the overall well-being of patients.
How Yoga is Beneficial for Breast Cancer Patients
Relieves Stress
The diagnosis of breast cancer leaves patients in a complete state of inner turmoil. It is a stressful time but attending a session of yoga daily will make it easier to cope with the disease. Regular practice of yoga will help transform one's inner turmoil to inner peace. Incorporating yoga in the treatment plan can be helpful to lower stress and is the best way to deal with emotional upheaval associated with cancer diagnosis. The yoga poses are relaxing and provide a sense of calm and peace of mind.
Improves Quality of Life
A recent study has shown that yoga helps better the quality of life of breast cancer patients. With yoga, patients feel less fatigued, and have more energy. From promoting better sleep, to improving mood, to relieving anxiety, to increasing efficiency in handling day-to-day activities, yoga does everything to enhance the quality of life and improve the overall health of breast cancer patients.
Alleviates Discomfort of Treatment
Getting chemotherapy doses or taking radiation therapy is fraught with numerous side effects. However, patients doing yoga during the treatment are in a better position to deal with its side effects. Patients who have incorporated yoga in their routine have reported improvement in nausea, insomnia and joint pain that often occur while taking chemotherapy drugs. In fact, patients who do yoga regularly, experience lesser side effects. Practicing yoga breathing exercises is a good lifestyle choice that can benefit patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation.
Promotes Flow of Lymph
The different yoga postures boost circulation of lymph, a fluid that consists of white blood cells. The lymph fluid is an integral part of the immune system and any disruption in lymph flow causes stagnation of toxins in the body. However, yoga ensures proper flow of lymph, thereby helping to flush off toxins. Thus, the increased lymph flow promotes drainage of toxins, which can also help improve the overall well-being of breast cancer patients.
Improves Muscle Movement
Muscle aches, soreness, and stiffness are relatively common in breast cancer patients. With a regular yoga routine, patients can expect improvement in flexibility and range of motion. The different yoga poses that focus on stretching muscles help ease pain and improve soreness in muscles. Better muscle movement and decreased muscle tension are some of the most common benefits of yoga for breast cancer patients.
Scientific Evidence
The research carried out at the University of Texas: M.D. Anderson Cancer Center involved the participation of approximately 60 women who were taking sessions of radiation therapy and had recently undergone breast cancer surgery.
The subjects were divided into two groups. One group participated in a 6-week yoga program, that consisted of breathing techniques, poses and medication. The other group did not take part in any yoga session. After a stipulated period, subjects from both the groups were asked to complete a self-assessment questionnaire. Subjects who participated in the yoga class reported increased capability to engage in physical activities. They were better at carrying out their day-to-day routine. Their ability to exercise such as walking a mile improved. The participants also reported diminished fatigue, increased vigor, and less trouble in getting sleep. On the whole, the overall health of patients who attended the session was better than their counterparts who skipped yoga.
Yoga, when combined with the prescribed treatment can certainly make it a lot easier for patients to cope with the condition. So, practicing yoga regularly can impart wellness and infuse every aspect of life with renewed energy through better health.