Yoga Helps Ease Side Effects of Breast Cancer Surgery

Sarah Alender
Yoga Helps Ease Side Effects of Breast Cancer Surgery

A new study conducted by the University of Tasmania has revealed that there are some serious medical benefits of yoga for cancer survivors. More specifically, those who have just undergone breast cancer surgery.

After eight weeks, the 40 participants said the study had helped their physical and emotional healing processes—and even changed their lives.

Help with Lymphatic Drainage

The study focused on women with lymphedema, a blockage in the lymphatic system that often causes swelling in the arms and legs as lymph fluid is prevented from draining properly. This condition often occurs after cancer treatments such as surgery, and must be managed for the rest of the patient’s life.

Mandy Giblin, a breast cancer survivor and participant in the study, tells the site that this only adds to the stress of a cancer diagnosis.

“You get over the cancer, but it’s all the side effects that [!are!] a constant reminder and a constant battle, which sometimes can be worse than the actual diagnosis,” she said.

The University of Tasmania study, led by yoga therapist and researcher Annette Loudon, involved a yoga program created specifically for women suffering from lymphedema. Giblin said the yoga “helped in a lot of ways…It helped with the lymphatic drainage, it helped just that range of motion.”

An Inspiring Study

Said Loudon, compared to the control group, study participants who did yoga showed reduced symptoms of the drainage probems. She also said the results of the study were inspiring.

“One of the ladies said, for the first time in 20 years, she could reach her garage door with both arms, and when we measured her range of motion, it had improved,” she said. Quality of life for other patients also improved measurably.

Study supervisor Dr. Andrew Williams characterized the astounding results as “unlike anything” he had been involved with before. To his knowledge, it was only the second study to focus on the effects of yoga on breast cancer-related lymphedema.

Currently, Loudon is training other therapists in the Yoga for Lymphedema program and hopes to make its benefits more widely known, aiming to bring greater relief to cancer survivors everywhere.

Source: ABC News Australia