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A number of recent studies have demonstrated the benefits of yoga for cancer patients. Here are some of the highlights.

Study 1

 A 2010 randomized controlled study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found yoga improved sleep problems and fatigue. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center administered either a yoga program (yoga group) or standard care (control group) to 410 cancer survivors for four weeks. Researchers found that the yoga participants had significantly reduced fatigue and improved sleep quality compared to the control group. Furthermore, the yoga group used less sleep medication while the control group increased sleep meds. Read more details here.

Study 2

 In 2011, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center administered yoga, simple stretching or no yoga or stretching instruction to 163 women with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy.

The researchers found that both yoga and stretching reduced fatigue. Furthermore, the yoga group had greater benefits to quality of life and lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels than either the stretching or non-exercise group. Read more details here

Study 3

At the 2003 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), results were reported from a yoga study involving 126 women recently diagnosed with Stage I or II breast cancer. The women were about to receive chemotherapy or hormonal therapy. Some of the women were assigned to yoga classes over a 3-month period. The women taking yoga had a 12% improvement in fatigue, physical functioning, and quality of life compared with those in the program who did not take the yoga classes. Read more details here


Study 4

In 2006, results of a yoga study were reported from an M.D. Anderson Cancer Center study. The study followed 61 women receiving 6 weeks of radiation treatment for breast cancer. Half the women took a yoga class twice a week; the other half did not. Compared with the women who did not take yoga, the women in the yoga group reported having more energy and less daytime sleepiness, better physical functioning, and better overall quality of life. Read more here.

Study 5

In March 2010 a review by the Unversity of York, UK, of studies into yoga for patients with cancer was published. It included 10 trials. It found that yoga could help to reduce anxiety, depression, fatigue and stress for some patients. And it improved the quality of sleep, mood and spiritual well being for some people. The authors of the study said that overall yoga may be associated with some positive effects on psychological well being for people with cancer. Read more details here.

Study 6

 A 2005 review of mindfulness meditation for oncology patients (9 research articles and 5 conference abstracts published over 5 years) found consistent benefits - improved psychological functioning, reduction of stress symptoms, enhanced coping and well-being in cancer outpatients.  The study concluded that “mindfulness meditation has clinically relevant implications to alleviate psychological and physical suffering of persons living with cancer. Use of this behavioral intervention for oncology patients is an area of burgeoning interest to clinicians and researchers.” More details here.

Pink Yoga is an initiative of Adore Yoga, dedicated to providing access to quality yoga classes for all Australian women with cancer. Learn more about our Pink Yoga program for women with cancer or Yoga Therapy training for yoga teachers.

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