Strike a Pose: Utilizing Yoga to Combat Cancer Treatment Fatigue

February 21, 2020
Katie Kosko

Heal, Winter 2020, Volume 8, Issue 1

Utilizing yoga can help patients with cancer fight off fatigue after going through intensive treatments like stem cell transplant.

Practicing yoga may offer a safe and effective way to combat the fatigue that often follows a stem cell transplant, according to research findings.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, included 13 women and seven men with a median age of 51 years who experienced severe to moderate fatigue following stem cell transplantation. Donor stem cells were used in 19 participants, and one had the procedure using their own stem cells.

In the study, patients were enrolled in a six-week restorative yoga program that consisted of a weekly one-hour class and twice-weekly home practice using a DVD. Overall, 45.4% of participants adhered to the plan, with 60% following it to some extent. Participants reported no side effects.

Among participants who had received donor cells, seven had a history of acute graft-versus-host disease and six had active extensive chronic cases. Each type — acute or chronic — of this serious complication of donor transplantation affects different organs and tissues and produces different symptoms. The incidence of graft-versus-host disease may have affected adherence, according to the researchers, but overall results indicate that restorative yoga intervention in adult stem cell transplant survivors is safe and feasible.

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