(NaturalNews) A recent study conducted by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that practicing yoga helped to alleviate inflammation and fatigue among breast cancer survivors.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study was a randomized, controlled clinical trial which involved 200 breast cancer survivors who were yoga novices and who had completed all breast cancer treatments before the study commenced. The ladies were aged from 27 to 76 and were followed for a period of five years.
This study was significant as it was the largest known randomized controlled one which actually looked at biological measures, in particular the measurement of proteins in the bloodstream which were indicative of inflammation, other than just surveying the subjects.
The ladies took part in formal small-group yoga sessions for 12 weeks, two times per week. They were also encouraged to practice yoga at home. After three months, those who practiced yoga, when compared to the non-yoga group, experienced an average reduction in fatigue of 41 percent, while the levels of their three inflammatory markers fell by an average of 12 percent. Vitality also improved about 12 percent. In addition, those who did yoga reported being able to sleep better.
Significantly, the more yoga the women engaged in, the more their conditions improved - vitality went up further, while depressive symptoms, fatigue and inflammation decreased further.
Another three months later - meaning at the six-month point of the study - it was found that the women who had earlier formally practiced yoga experienced up to 20 percent reduction in inflammation and 57 percent reduction in fatigue levels as compared to those who did not engage in yoga. In other words, the benefits of yoga continued even after formal yoga sessions had ceased.
The researchers zoomed in on breast cancer survivors due to the draining treatments they go through, which can be debilitating. They also deliberately chose a diversified group of breast cancer survivors, in terms of their stages of disease and treatments received, so that the results of their study can be broadly applied to all cancer survivors.
Non-cancer survivors can also enjoy reduced inflammation and fatigue through yoga
Could these benefits of yoga also extend to persons other than cancer survivors? The researchers thought so, saying that their findings could easily be generalized to other persons with fatigue and inflammatory issues.
Indeed, a 2010 study conducted by the same researchers and published in Psychosomatic Medicine had shown that women who regularly practiced yoga exhibited lower levels of inflammation in their bodies - specifically, they had lower levels of the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in their bloodstreams.
Further, even when these women experienced stressful life situations, they had smaller elevations in their inflammation levels as compared to the women who did not engage in yoga.
These findings on the health benefits of yoga are particularly useful considering chronic inflammation is linked to a wide variety of ailments, including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer itself. Furthermore, when properly carried out, yoga does not have any adverse side effects.