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Psychooncology. 2009 Apr;18(4):360-8. doi: 10.1002/pon.1503.

Restorative yoga for women with breast cancer: findings from a randomized pilot study.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1082, USA.



Restorative yoga (RY) is a gentle type of yoga that may be beneficial for cancer patients and post-treatment survivors. Study goals were: to determine the feasibility of implementing a RY intervention for women with breast cancer; and to examine group differences in self-reported emotional, health-related quality of life, and symptom outcomes.


Women with breast cancer (n=44; mean age 55.8 years) enrolled in this study; 34% were actively undergoing cancer treatment. Study participants were randomized to the intervention (10 weekly 75-minute RY classes) or a waitlist control group. Participants completed questionnaires at Week 0 (baseline) and Week 10 (immediately post-intervention for the yoga group).


Group differences favoring the yoga group were seen for mental health, depression, positive affect, and spirituality (peace/meaning). Significant baseline*group interactions were observed for negative affect and emotional well-being. Women with higher negative affect and lower emotional well-being at baseline derived greater benefit from the yoga intervention compared to those with similar values at baseline in the control group. The yoga group demonstrated a significant within-group improvement in fatigue; no significant difference was noted for the control group.


Although limited by sample size, these pilot data suggest potential benefit of RY on emotional outcomes and fatigue in cancer patients. This study demonstrates that a RY intervention is feasible for women with breast cancer; implications for study design and implementation are noted with an emphasis on program adoption and participant adherence.

(c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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