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Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
Date:5/20/2010

lled components from gentle Hatha yoga and restorative yoga," explained study author Karen Mustian, an assistant professor of radiation oncology and community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. "The actual components of each class included seated, standing, transitional and supine postures, and breathing exercises known as pranayama."

Emphasis was on breathing from the diaphragm rather than the chest and on mindfulness, visualization and guided meditation, she explained.

Yoga participants reported an improvement in sleep quality of 22 percent, while controls reported an improvement of only 12 percent, Mustian said.

Thirty-one percent of participants in the yoga group who had started out with clinically impaired sleep quality recovered vs. only 16 percent in the control group.

Fatigue in the yoga group was decreased by 42 percent, compared with only 12 percent in the control group.

Yoga participants reduced daytime sleepiness by 20 percent as compared to only 5 percent in the usual care group.

Quality of life improved, on average, 6 percent in the yoga group and not at all in the other group.

While the yoga group was able to get by with less sleep medication, people in the control group actually used more.

"It is possible that gentle Hatha yoga classes and restorative yoga classes might be useful to cancer survivors in communities across the U.S. in helping with side effects of cancer treatment, which help create impairments in quality of life," Mustian said. "What we can't say at this time is that other forms of yoga, such as heated, or more rigorous types of yoga would be effective in mitigating these side effects or be safe for cancer survivors."

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on cancer survivorship.


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