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Mind-body practices are defined as a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms. A large percentage of the population, and especially people with cancer, participate in mind-body programs to help relieve stress, improve quality of life, and modulate physiological systems. At The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, we are conducting a number of clinical trials examining the biobehavioral effects of mind-body programs such as Tibetan Yoga, Hatha Yoga, meditation, and Qigong. Initial studies have found that these programs help to improve aspects of patient quality of life during and after treatment. More research is needed in this area with the use of appropriate control groups and thorough examination of the potential mediators of the benefits of the interventions to truly know the efficacy of these programs. It is clear that different mind-body practices have their place in oncology care. However, it is still uncertain which programs are most effective, and it will likely turn out that different programs are useful for different people at different times within the treatment and recovery trajectory. The key for health care professionals and patients is to encourage participation in some type of mind-body program to help improve aspects of quality of life.

Mind-body practices are defined as a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms. A large percentage of the population, and especially people with cancer, participate in mind-body programs to help relieve stress, improve quality of life, and modulate physiological systems. At The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, we are conducting a number of clinical trials examining the biobehavioral effects of mind-body programs such as Tibetan Yoga, Hatha Yoga, meditation, and Qigong. Initial studies have found that these programs help to improve aspects of patient quality of life during and after treatment. More research is needed in this area with the use of appropriate control groups and thorough examination of the potential mediators of the benefits of the interventions to truly know the efficacy of these programs. It is clear that different mind-body practices have their place in oncology care. However, it is still uncertain which programs are most effective, and it will likely turn out that different programs are useful for different people at different times within the treatment and recovery trajectory. The key for health care professionals and patients is to encourage participation in some type of mind-body program to help improve aspects of quality of life.

Purpose Previous research incorporating yoga (YG) into radiotherapy (XRT) for women with breast cancer finds improved quality of life (QOL). However, shortcomings in this research limit the findings. Patients and Methods Patients with stages 0 to III breast cancer were recruited before starting XRT and were randomly assigned to YG (n = 53) or stretching (ST; n = 56) three times a week for 6 weeks during XRT or waitlist (WL; n = 54) control. Self-report measures of QOL (Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short-form survey; primary outcomes), fatigue, depression, and sleep quality, and five saliva samples per day for 3 consecutive days were collected at baseline, end of treatment, and 1, 3, and 6 months later. Results The YG group had significantly greater increases in physical component scale scores compared with the WL group at 1 and 3 months after XRT (P = .01 and P = .01). At 1, 3, and 6 months, the YG group had greater increases in physical functioning compared with both ST and WL groups (P < .05), with ST and WL differences at only 3 months (P < .02). The group differences were similar for general health reports. By the end of XRT, the YG and ST groups also had a reduction in fatigue (P < .05). There were no group differences for mental health and sleep quality. Cortisol slope was steepest for the YG group compared with the ST and WL groups at the end (P = .023 and P = .008) and 1 month after XRT (P = .05 and P = .04). Conclusion YG improved QOL and physiological changes associated with XRT beyond the benefits of simple ST exercises, and these benefits appear to have long-term durability.

Purpose Previous research incorporating yoga (YG) into radiotherapy (XRT) for women with breast cancer finds improved quality of life (QOL). However, shortcomings in this research limit the findings. Patients and Methods Patients with stages 0 to III breast cancer were recruited before starting XRT and were randomly assigned to YG (n = 53) or stretching (ST; n = 56) three times a week for 6 weeks during XRT or waitlist (WL; n = 54) control. Self-report measures of QOL (Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short-form survey; primary outcomes), fatigue, depression, and sleep quality, and five saliva samples per day for 3 consecutive days were collected at baseline, end of treatment, and 1, 3, and 6 months later. Results The YG group had significantly greater increases in physical component scale scores compared with the WL group at 1 and 3 months after XRT (P = .01 and P = .01). At 1, 3, and 6 months, the YG group had greater increases in physical functioning compared with both ST and WL groups (P < .05), with ST and WL differences at only 3 months (P < .02). The group differences were similar for general health reports. By the end of XRT, the YG and ST groups also had a reduction in fatigue (P < .05). There were no group differences for mental health and sleep quality. Cortisol slope was steepest for the YG group compared with the ST and WL groups at the end (P = .023 and P = .008) and 1 month after XRT (P = .05 and P = .04). Conclusion YG improved QOL and physiological changes associated with XRT beyond the benefits of simple ST exercises, and these benefits appear to have long-term durability.

Purpose: Previous research incorporating yoga (YG) into radiotherapy (XRT) for women with breast cancer finds improved quality of life (QOL). However, shortcomings in this research limit the findings. Patients and Methods: Patients with stages 0 to III breast cancer were recruited before starting XRT and were randomly assigned to YG (n = 53) or stretching (ST; n = 56) three times a week for 6 weeks during XRT or waitlist (WL; n = 54) control. Self-report measures of QOL (Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short-form survey; primary outcomes), fatigue, depression, and sleep quality, and five saliva samples per day for 3 consecutive days were collected at baseline, end of treatment, and 1, 3, and 6 months later. Results: The YG group had significantly greater increases in physical component scale scores compared with the WL group at 1 and 3 months after XRT (P = 0.01 and P = 0.01). At 1, 3, and 6 months, the YG group had greater increases in physical functioning compared with both ST and WL groups (P < 0.05), with ST and WL differences at only 3 months (P < 0.02). The group differences were similar for general health reports. By the end of XRT, the YG and ST groups also had a reduction in fatigue (P < 0.05). There were no group differences for mental health and sleep quality. Cortisol slope was steepest for the YG group compared with the ST and WL groups at the end (P = 0.023 and P = 0.008) and 1 month after XRT (P = 0.05 and P = 0.04). Conclusion: YG improved QOL and physiological changes associated with XRT beyond the benefits of simple ST exercises, and these benefits appear to have long-term durability.

This study examined the effects of yoga on quality of life (QOL) and psychosocial outcomes in women with breast cancer undergoing radiotherapy. Sixty-one women were randomly assigned to either a yoga or a wait-list group. Yoga classes were taught biweekly during the 6 weeks of radiotherapy. Participants completed measures of QOL, fatigue, benefit finding (finding meaning in the cancer experience), intrusive thoughts, sleep disturbances, depressive symptoms, and anxiety before radiotherapy and then again 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months after the end of radiotherapy. General linear model analyses revealed that compared to the control group, the yoga group reported significantly better general health perception (p = .005) and physical functioning scores (p = .04) 1 week postradiotherapy; higher levels of intrusive thoughts 1 month postradiotherapy (p = .01); and greater benefit finding 3 months postradiotherapy (p = .01). There were no other group differences in other QOL subscales for fatigue, depression, or sleep scores. Exploratory analyses indicated that intrusive thoughts 1 month after radiotherapy were significantly positively correlated with benefit finding 3 months after radiotherapy (r = .36, p = .011). Our results indicated that the yoga program was associated with statistically and clinically significant improvements in aspects of QOL.