Ancient Indian yoga getting medical recognition

yoga-webCHICAGO: Yoga is not only for Indians but for all those seeking to lead a healthy life. And it is equally not a fad as many would like to believe. It is proved time and again with scientific research and studies. A recent study conducted by leading health institution in USA has substantiated it one more time.

This ancient Indian exercise can help reduce fatigue and lower inflammation, according to new research by a medical research team headed by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser. The researchers chose to focus on breast cancer survivors for their study because the treatment can be so taxing on the patients.

Each participant, who ranged in age from 27 to 76, was asked to complete questionnaires throughout the study on their quality of sleep and energy levels, as well as provide blood samples for the researchers to measure inflammation.

After three months, women in the yoga group reported that they had more vitality and were sleeping better. They showed an average reduction in fatigue of 57 percent and up to a 20 percent reduction in inflammation, compared to the wait-listed group. And the longer they practiced yoga, the greater their improvements.

At the six-month mark, the women still practicing yoga reported nearly 60 percent less fatigue then the women on the waiting list, and their measures of inflammation were 13 to 20 percent lower.

“This showed that modest yoga practice over a period of several months could have substantial benefits for breast cancer survivors,” said lead study author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, in a news release. “One of the problems they face is a real reduction in cardio respiratory fitness,” said Kiecolt-Glaser. “The treatment is so debilitating and they are so tired, and the less you do physically, the less you’re able to do. It’s a downward spiral.”

As a two-time breast cancer survivor, Carol Dieball, M.S., A.C.S.M., a cancer exercise specialist at the Advocate Condell Center Club in Libertyville, Ill. knows the toll chemotherapy and radiation can have.

“After treatment, breast cancer patients are often left with bodies that are weakened and changed,” said Dieball. “However, yoga and other exercise is a way for women to take control of their bodies again. Participants in our cancer exercise program leave feeling balanced, strong and just plain good. ”

At the end of 12 weeks of yoga classes, a group of women who had completed breast cancer treatment, including surgery and radiotherapy, showed an average reduction in fatigue of 57% and up to 20% reduction in inflammation, compared with a similar group that had not received yoga instruction. The researchers also found the more yoga the women practiced, the better the results.

They report the findings of the randomized controlled trial in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Advocate Condell Medical Center has recently opened a brand new Cancer Resource Center, offering exercise classes and other services to educate and support cancer patients, as well as their families.

Angela Li

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