For women with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy, yoga offers unique benefits beyond fighting fatigue, according to a study by Chandwani et al published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. While simple stretching activities counteracted fatigue, patients who participated in yoga exercises that incorporated controlled breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques into their treatment plan experienced improved ability to engage in their daily activities, better general health, and better regulation of cortisol. Women in the yoga group were also better equipped to find meaning in the illness experience, which declined over time for the women in the other two groups.
- Women who practiced yoga had a steeper decline in their cortisol levels across the day compared to women who practiced simple stretching exercises.
- Women in the yoga and simple stretching groups reported a reduction in fatigue after radiation treatment.
- Women who practiced yoga during the treatment period reported greater benefits to physical functioning and general health and were more likely to find life meaning from their cancer experience