Yoga is good medicine!
Yoga has been popular in health & fitness for decades. Maybe there’s a yoga studio in your neighbourhood, or yoga classes at the gym or community centre.
But you might not realize that yoga is more than just relaxation and fitness. Yoga is a potential therapy. Yoga is good medicine!
That was highlighted in a significant research review published in 2017: “Yoga for improving health-related quality of life, mental health and cancer-related symptoms in women diagnosed with breast cancer”.
This research review deserves special attention because it was published by the Cochrane Collaboration (now known as “Cochrane”) — a widely-respected international organization that reviews medical research.
Cochrane helps keep medical treatment honest. The scientists at Cochrane scrutinize medical research carefully, and then they publish their reviews of the research so that health professionals can decide if that research is trustworthy. After all, we don’t want medical treatment based on bad research!
In this review, Cochrane’s scientists looked at 24 studies that involved 2166 women. These were all studies that involved various forms of yoga.
About half the studies included women who had completed breast cancer treatment (surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy). Women in the other studies were still receiving treatment.
Each study evaluated a woman’s response to yoga, by asking her in questionnaires about her quality of life, depression, fatigue, and/or sleep disturbances.
In their research review, Cochrane scientists concluded:
We wanted to find out whether yoga can improve quality of life, mental health and symptoms related to cancer in women with a diagnosis of breast cancer…
We found that yoga was more effective... in improving quality of life and reducing fatigue and sleep disturbances.
We also found that yoga was better for reducing depression, anxiety and fatigue in women when compared with psychosocial or educational interventions such as counselling.
We are fairly certain that these observed results are probably true.
Yoga might be as effective as exercise in improving quality of life and reducing fatigue; we do not have enough data to be sure…
We found no evidence of serious risks of yoga among women with a diagnosis of breast cancer.
Our findings indicate that women with a diagnosis of breast cancer can use yoga as supportive therapy for improving their quality of life and mental health, in addition to standard cancer treatments.
This cautious statement is actually high praise from the routinely conservative scientists at Cochrane. They're confirming yoga to be effective therapy for women recovering from breast cancer. Yoga has a place at the hospital or clinic.
And, maybe yoga could be helpful for you too, even if breast cancer is not your concern. After all, these scientists found that “yoga was better for reducing depression, anxiety and fatigue in women when compared with psychosocial or educational interventions such as counselling.” Does that sound useful for you?
To your natural happiness!
Cramer H, Lauche R, Klose P, Lange S, Langhorst J, Dobos GJ.
Yoga for improving health-related quality of life, mental health and cancer-related symptoms in women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD010802.