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Yoga Can Reduce Fatigue in Cancer Patients

31 Mar

Investigators from San Diego State University (SDSU) & University of California, San Diego (UCSD), conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effects of randomized, controlled yoga interventions on self-reported fatigue in cancer patients and survivors. The online electronic databases, PubMed and PsycINFO, were used to search for peer-reviewed research articles reporting on randomized, controlled studies.

The main outcome of interest was change in fatigue from pre- to post-intervention. Interventions of any length were included in the analysis. Risk of bias using the format of the Cochrane Collaboration's tool for assessing risk of bias was also examined across studies.

Ten articles met the inclusion criteria and involved a total of 583 participants who were predominantly female, breast cancer survivors.

Four studies indicated that the yoga intervention resulted in significant reductions in self-reported fatigue from pre- to post-intervention.

Three of the studies reported that there were significant reductions of fatigue among participants who attended a greater number of yoga classes. Risk of bias was high for areas of adequate selection, performance, detection, and patient-reported bias and mixed for attrition and reporting bias. Risk of bias was uniformly low for other forms of bias, including financial conflicts of interest.

Results suggest that yoga interventions may be beneficial for reducing cancer-related fatigue in women with breast cancer. But conclusions should be interpreted with caution because of levels of bias and inconsistent methods used across studies.

More well-constructed randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the impact of yoga interventions on fatigue in cancer patients and survivors.

Citation:  Sadja J1, Mills PJ. Effects of yoga interventions on fatigue in cancer patients and survivors: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Explore (NY). 2013 Jul-Aug;9(4):232-43. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2013.04.005.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award