Yoga could help relieve pain and stress experienced by breast cancer survivors

The self healing practice of yoga has enabled individuals all over the world to relieve stress, relax and improve their mind-body connections. This may be particularly important for women who have survived breast cancer, as they may often experience severe fatigue as a result of imbalance in the autonomic nervous system. Changes in the body following treatment for the disease may increase exhaustion among these individuals, and tiredness may last as long as 10 years after therapy.

According to a paper published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, researchers from Ohio State University’s Institute of Behavioral Medicine Research set out to determine whether biomarkers exist that may point to the cause of this fatigue.

They recruited 109 women, all of whom were placed into one of two groups depending on whether they felt tired or not. After a period of relaxation, each participant had her blood drawn in order to determine her levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine.

Researchers found that women who had persistent fatigue showed higher levels of norepinephrine, compared to those who were not tired.

Because pain and stress may contribute to inflammation, which in turn leads to poorer health, women who have survived breast cancer may wish to pursue yoga as a method of relaxation. Reducing tension and anxiety may ease their discomfort and exhaustion, and enhance their holistic health.

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