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Yoga Improves Quality of Life for Women with Breast Cancer

27 May

Investigators from Tianjin Medical University’s School of Nursing in Tianjin, China, conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the effects of yoga on psychological health and quality of life (QoL) in women with breast cancer.

A systematic search was done using PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, and the Chinese Digital Journals Full-text Database. Analysts used randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effects of yoga as compared to a control group (treatment as usual or TAU), on psychological functioning and QoL in women with breast cancer.

Six studies involving 382 patients were included for review. The meta-analysis revealed that yoga improves quality of life for women with breast cancer, yielding a statistically significant effect (p=0.03, standard mean difference = 0.27, 95% confidence interval [0.02, 0.52]).

Although the effects of yoga on psychological function outcomes, such as anxiety, depression, distress and sleep, were in the expected direction, they were not statistically significant (p>0.05). There was no significant difference on fatigue (p>0.05).

Investigators conclude that this meta-analysis showed that yoga was mildly effective for improving Quality of Life for women with breast cancer, but that the findings were based on a small body of evidence in which methodological quality was questionable. They suggest that more well-designed RCTs with large sample sizes are needed to clarify the utility of yoga practice for this population.

Citation:  Zhang J, Yang KH, Tian JH, Wang CM. Effects of yoga on psychologic function and quality of life in women with breast cancer: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2012 Nov;18(11):pp. 994-1002. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

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