Science says yoga helps the side effects of cancer treatments, and we’re rolling out our mat
We already know that there are many worthwhile benefits of yoga, but recent research has proved that yoga can even help with the side effects of cancer treatments. A study was published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics and it showed that yoga has some pretty amazing results on a group of men who were undergoing intense treatment for prostate cancer.
Researchers surveyed 50 men with prostate cancer who were going through six to nine weeks of radiation therapy. Half of them took two 75-minute yoga classes every week throughout their whole treatment, and, before the classes even started, they all reported high levels of fatigue that stopped them from living their normal lives.
After just the fourth week, the men who were doing yoga regularly reported “a renewed sense of energy,” according to lead author Dr. Neha Vapiwala, associate professor of radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
Dr. Vepiwala said this could also be partly due to the social factor that comes from doing yoga with other people on a regular basis. The group who wasn’t doing yoga didn’t see any improvement in their energy levels and they said everyday tasks weren’t getting any easier to accomplish.
The men who were doing yoga even experienced a strengthening of pelvic floor muscles and more circulation of blood in the lower half of their body, resulting in more stable urinary function. Those who didn’t do yoga faced a decline in their sexual dysfunction, which is a very common side effect of radiation, but the yoga-doing men didn’t experience any change in their sexual capabilities.
Dr. Vapiwala said these results don’t necessarily mean that yoga will work this well for every person who is going through cancer treatment, but the research certainly serves as proof that yoga can have many positive physical and mental effects on men or women whose health isn’t in the best condition.