(NaturalNews) Specifically tailored yoga programs may help women with late-stage breast cancer by reducing pain and fatigue and raising their spirits, according to a pilot study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.
"The benefits could include less pain and fatigue, and more vigor, relaxation, and acceptance," said study leader Dr. James W. Carson of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
Researchers tested the effects of a specifically tailored yoga program on 13 women with breast cancer that had spread to other parts of their bodies. The average participant age was 59 years, and the average time of diagnosis was seven years previous to the study.
The women attended a yoga class once a week for eight weeks. The classes included breathing, mediation and gentle yoga postures, as prescribed by the "Yoga of Awareness" program, which is specifically designed to help with emotional distress, fatigue and pain.
The yoga exercises demonstrated immediate benefits in "significantly boosting daily invigoration and a sense of acceptance," according to the researchers, as well as improving relaxation and helping with pain.
"Greater practice on a given day was associated with improvements not only on the same day, but the next day as well," the researchers wrote.
The new study "provides some of the first, tentative evidence for yoga's potential benefits in this vulnerable population of women with limited life expectancy," they concluded.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women
worldwide, and the leading cause of cancer deaths among them. An estimated one in 39 women who reach age 90 will suffer from it at some point in their lives.
Breast cancer may spread to other parts of the body via the lymph nodes under the arms or through blood vessels, most commonly to the bones. Once the cancer has metasatized to the bones, it is no longer considered curable by conventional oncologists, though treatment may prolong the life of a patient for several years.