Live

Watch CBSN Live

Yoga May Help After Breast Cancer

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.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
©2005-2006 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved