Women who took part in the yoga study were less tired and reported better social, physical and emotional well-being

yoga cancer survivor

Regular yoga sessions can help cancer survivors sleep better and have a better quality of life, research suggests.

A study by Dr Anita Peoples at the University of Rochester, in New York, found that regular yoga can have a 44% improvement in cancer survivor’s quality of life as a result of better sleep quality, reduced insomnia and less fatigue.

Dr Peoples claims that “as yet, nothing has been found that works as well as yoga at improving the quality of life among those who have suffered from the disease”. She also calls for evidence-based non-drug treatments such as yoga to be “provided as an integral part of comprehensive cancer care”.

The study looked at 245 women treated for breast cancer, 123 of whom attended yoga classes twice a week for four weeks.  At the end of the four week period, the women attending yoga classes were less tired and reported better social, physical and emotional well-being.

Sleep disturbances typically occur in 30-60 per cent of cancer patients and survivors, whilst up to 90 per cent report regular fatigue. This study demonstrates that yoga can be an effective, safe, drug-free option to help improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue. Thereby promoting a better quality of life.

Professor Arnie Purushotham, from Cancer Research UK, said: “These encouraging results show that breathing exercises, improved posture and meditation based on mindfulness improved quality of life in breast cancer survivors.

As to whether the benefits identified in this study could be applied to other types of cancer survivors Dr Peoples stated: “I see no reason why yoga would not also benefit people who have suffered from other types of cancer, but that would need to be tested.”

Discover our range of easy yoga books for people with cancer to help you get started.