Document Type

Critically Appraised Topic

Publication Date

2012

Clinical Question

What are the effects of yoga on perceived quality of life for women living with breast cancer?

Clinical Bottom Line

Clinicians working with patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer should always take a person-centered approach when selecting the best treatment options for their clients. Individual preference is essential to encouraging sustained motivation and participation. Yoga or components of a yoga program, such as meditation or breathing techniques, can be suggested to the patient as one possible method to improve quality of life in conjunction with conventional treatment. These techniques should be presented as options that have worked successfully in some, but not all, patients. Clinicians should not try to pressure patients into trying yoga if it does not fit with their individual values and beliefs about the recovery process. Clinicians can also help their clients find resources regarding yoga programs and help them adapt the programs to fit their specific physical and psychological needs.

While many of the studies we reviewed had significant limitations and leave room for further research, there is still strong evidence that yoga indeed improves the quality of life for many women who are living with breast cancer. Yoga is a cost-effective intervention with no drug interactions, and therefore serves as a potentially beneficial complementary therapy. Whether targeting the stress and anxiety that can accompany cancer treatment, pain and disturbed sleep patterns in the hospital, or the depression that may come after receiving a diagnosis, yoga can be offered as a possible intervention throughout the recovery process.

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