January 2014

Yoga May Reduce Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors

A recent study suggests that practicing yoga may reduce fatigue and inflammation in breast cancer survivors.

Yoga is an ancient system of relaxation, exercise, and healing with origins in Indian philosophy. Early descriptions of yoga are written in Sanskrit, the classical literary language of India. The first known work is "The Yoga Sutras," written more than 2,000 years ago, although yoga may have been practiced up to 5,000 years ago. The initial concepts have been adapted over time through translation and scholarly interpretation, but the fundamental principles describing the practice of yoga in the quest of the soul remain largely intact. In human research, yoga has been shown to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, increase breath holding time and lung capacity, improve muscle relaxation and body composition, cause weight loss, and increase overall physical endurance.

In a recent study, researchers randomly assigned 200 breast cancer survivors to either 90 minutes of hatha yoga twice weekly for 12 weeks or a wait list control. Various outcome measures, including several inflammation markers and scores on fatigue and depression scales were evaluated.

The researchers found that after three months of yoga practice, fatigue was significant lower and vitality was significantly high in the yoga group when compared to those in the control group. Furthermore, several inflammation markers were significantly lower in the yoga group. Differences in depression scores were lacking.

The authors concluded that practicing yoga may benefit breast cancer survivors by reducing fatigue and inflammation. Further research is warranted.

For more information about yoga, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.


  1. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Bennett JM, Andridge R, et al. Yoga's Impact on Inflammation, Mood, and Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Clin Oncol. 2014 Jan 27.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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