If you needed further proof that yoga and meditation are beneficial to the mind and body, a new study reveals these stress-management practices are the most effective non-invasive therapies for breast cancer patients.
According to a new study conducted by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs, researchers used clinical trials from 1990-2003 to see which complementary therapies worked the best when patients are undergoing invasive treatment like chemotherapy. Yoga, mindful meditation and relaxation with imagery were given an “A” grading when it came to recommending these options to aid in anxiety and mood disorders. These methods were given a “B” for stress reduction, fatigue and quality of life.
Another study published this week by Alberta Health Services’ Tom Baker Cancer Centre, saw that breast cancer survivors who practice mindful meditation and gentle Hatha yoga for eight weeks had maintained their telomeres levels. Those who only participated in a one 6-hour seminar had shorter telomeres levels. Telomeres are DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes, the longer they are, the generally more healthy a person is thought to be. “We already know that psychosocial interventions like mindfulness meditation will help you feel better mentally, but now for the first time we have evidence that they can also influence key aspects of your biology,” said Dr. Linda E. Carlson, PhD, principal investigator and director of research in the Psychosocial Resources Department at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.
The findings of both of these studies are extremely important as the benefits of yoga and meditation are now going beyond traditional uses. Of course, every patient is different, but the fact that this is the first time we’re seeing a physical impact on people, is enough to encourage those who have been diagnosed to try non-invasive therapy in addition to their traditional treatments.