23 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2023 issue 3

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Leisure Management - Stretching out

Finishing Touch

Stretching out

Yoga can help cancer recovery, according to a new study sponsored by the US National Institute of Health

The research focused on gentle types of yoga photo: Shutterstock/Slatan

Spas offering cancer-friendly treatments may want to consider adding yoga to the mix if a new study sponsored by the US National Institute of Health is anything to go by.

Research led by the University of Rochester Medical Centre found that cancer patients practising yoga benefit from reduced levels of inflammation, which is linked to the growth of tumours.

Gentle yoga
The study*, which was published at the recent annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), was based on more than 500 cancer survivors. All participants, who had an average age of 56, had received cancer treatment between two months and five years earlier.

Half of the group, picked at random, enrolled on a programme by Yoga for Cancer Survivors (YOCAS), which includes gentle hatha and restorative yoga – not more intense versions like ashtanga or bikram.

They practised 75-minute yoga sessions two times a week for a month.

The other half took part in a placebo programme devised by ASCO focused on health education.

Each group was monitored using a series of blood tests throughout the four-week period and checked for levels of inflammation.

Reduced inflammation
Inflammation, both acute and chronic, is universally associated with primary and secondary cancer development and progression, as well as a myriad of toxicities that negatively affect cancer treatment adherence and survival.

Those who took up the YOCAS yoga had “significantly lower levels of pro-inflammatory markers,” when compared with the group attending education classes.

The researchers said: “Clinicians should consider prescribing [YOCAS yoga] for survivors experiencing inflammation” as it could help them on their road to recovery and even prevent cancer from returning.

*Mustian KM et al. Effects of yoga vs placebo on inflammation among cancer survivors: A nationwide multicenter phase III randomised controlled trial. ASCO. 2023

Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 3

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