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Iyengar yoga improves breast cancer recovery

Posted Aug 17 2010 12:00am

A specialized Iyengar yoga program makes a difference in the recovery of women currently in treatment for breast cancer, and who have completed treatment, according to University of Alberta research fellow Amy Speed-Andrews

For two years groups of study participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their physical and mental health at the beginning of a 10-week session of Iyengar yoga and again at the end. After analyzing the data that was collected Speed-Andrews, from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, found that after the yoga 94 per cent said they had improvements in their quality of life; 88 per cent felt better physically; 87 per cent reported being happier and 80 per cent were less tired. Other improvements were reported in body image and in decreased levels of stress, anxiety and depression. This is significant, considering breast cancer treatments often leave women in recovery in pain, immobilized, tired and depressed.

Speed-Andrews is available to talk about her research that was recently published in the journal Cancer Nursing. She plans to add an additional component to her research once the next session of Iyengar yoga classes begins September 2010 and wants to examine how Iyengar yoga affects these women’s joint range of motion, upper body strength and balance. Speed-Andrews also hopes one day to study how this type of yoga might benefit women with advanced-stage breast cancer (Courtesy of EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS).

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