Yoga a popular form of ancient Indian exercise and meditation for the mind and the body. It is known to have healing properties and is popularly used to relieve people of stress. Now it is being used to reduce pain, trauma and anxiety in patients with breast cancer.
A ten-year research programme at Bangalore Institute of Oncology on Yoga therapy treated over 400 patients with breast cancer with a positive outcome to relieve patients of pain. Now The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the world's largest cancer hospital and Research Center has accepted this research. It is looking towards a plan to utilize brain-imaging technology (with PET scans) to pinpoint precisely where changes take place in the brain. Previously some research has shown that Yoga meditation affects certain brain regions.
Dr HR Nagendra, the President of "Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana" has said "Yoga is an effective agent and it can bring a lot of improvement for the patients. For the last 25 years we have been doing extensive research, findings of which are published in nearly 75 research papers in the top reading journals". He further added: "What we have been able to show is that yoga is effective by systematic protocols, which are acceptable by international standards. The MD Anderson Center has also come forward and for the first time seen how yoga can be useful for cancer patients. They are very much impressed".
A breast cancer patient said: "Yoga gives mental relaxation. I am suffering from breast cancer. I have been doing Yoga as prescribed by the doctors. It has helped me a lot. I can sit and concentrate for hours, which was not possible earlier. This has helped me a lot".
Researchers from the Bangalore and Texas institutes are currently looking at a randomized trial to look at the effects of yoga on breast cancer patients undergoing radiation treatments and monitoring the patients' physiological responses to yoga.
They are also looking to see if a yoga programmed can help in reducing patients' fatigue and sleep disturbances, while improving the overall quality of life, mental health, stress hormone levels, and aspects of immune function.