Skip to content

    Breast Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Yoga May Help After Breast Cancer

    Breast Cancer Survivors Report Fewer Hot Flashes After 8 Weeks of Specialized Yoga Training
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    March 10, 2008 -- Yoga may ease hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors, new research shows.

    "We knew that some data found yoga helped reduce hot flashes among healthy women but no one had studied the effects among cancer survivors," Duke University's Laura Porter, PhD, says in a news release.

    Breast cancer survivors aren't good candidates for hormone replacement therapy. And some breast cancer treatments, such as tamoxifen, "tend to induce or exacerbate menopausal symptoms," write Porter and colleagues at Duke and Oregon Health & Science University.

    The yoga study included 37 women who had completed treatment for early-stage breast cancer. The researchers split the women into two groups.

    One group of women took a two-hour yoga class for eight weeks. They also practiced yoga at home for about 30 minutes per day. For comparison, the other group of women went on a waiting list for the yoga class.

    Their yoga program, called Yoga of Awareness, addresses hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.

    "Yoga of Awareness is based on traditional yoga techniques that go beyond the teaching of specific postures to incorporate practices aimed at reducing stress and creating a heightened sense of awareness and acceptance about one's physical and mental state," Porter notes in the news release.

    All of the women reported their daily hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms at the study's start and end.

    Those before-and-after comparisons show that the yoga group had a greater improvement in menopausal symptoms -- including hot flash frequency and severity -- and a bigger drop in fatigue, joint pain, poor sleep, and distress about their symptoms than the women on the yoga waiting list.

    Three months later, the yoga group still fared better, in terms of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, according to follow-up data.

    The findings were presented on March 8 in Los Angeles at the International Association of Yoga Therapists' Symposium for Yoga Therapy and Research.

    The researchers plan further studies and to teach their yoga program to yoga instructors nationwide.

    Meanwhile, Porter states that while Yoga of Awareness "is not what you'd find at your local fitness center," experienced yoga instructors could teach some of the program's principles.

    Today on WebMD

    Breast Cancer Overview
    From mammograms to living after treatment.
    Dealing with breast cancer
    Get answers to your questions.
     
    woman having mammogram
    The 3 latest tips to know.
    woman undergoing breast cancer test
    Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
     
    Resolved To Quit Smoking
    VIDEO
    Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
    Article
     
    Woman getting mammogram
    Article
    Screening Tests for Women
    Article
     
    serious woman
    Article
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    QUIZ
     
    what is your cancer risk
    Article
    breast cancer survivors
    Article