For Breast Cancer Survivors, Yoga May Help Overcome Fatigue

(Go Interactive Wellness/Flickr)

(Go Interactive Wellness/Flickr)

By Allison Aubrey, NPR

Exercise helps recovery after cancer treatment, but fatigue can make working out hard. Yoga can help reduce fatigue for breast cancer survivors, a study finds. It’s one of a growing number of efforts using randomized controlled trials to see if the ancient practice offers medical benefits.

Women who took a yoga class three hours a week for three months said they experienced 40 percent less fatigue compared to a group of breast cancer survivors who did not do yoga.

“Fatigue is a major and serious problem in survivors,” even years after treatments have ended, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a  psychology professor at Ohio State University and lead author of the study, said.

The participants who did yoga also had lower levels of cytokines, which are markers of inflammation, in their blood, Kiecolt-Glaser says. Cytokine levels were reduced up to 20 percent six months after starting yoga. It’s not clear how this may affect their health, she says. Continue reading

Can Yoga Really “Wreck Your Body”?

Hopefully, this boy will be OK. (Kristin Andrus: Flickr)

Hopefully, this boy will be OK. (Kristin Andrus: Flickr)

The New York Times Magazine hit a nerve earlier this month with its “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” feature. The piece outlined injuries including torn cartilage, herniated discs and even a stroke. Media outlets from Salon to Men’s Fitness have weighed in. The New York Observer says the story could be the biggest “Non-Controversy of the Year.”

Non-controversy or real controversy, the story has become a big story. Today on KQED’s Forum, no less than five guests debated and discussed the merits of yoga. Spoiler alert: four of the guests defended the practice of yoga, but with some caveats.

A big issue for yoga seems to be that many more millions of people are now “practicing” it. (“Practicing” being yoga-speak for “doing.”) On Forum, Kaitlin Quistgaard, editor-in-chief of the Yoga Journal, put the number at 15 million Americans, up from four million in 2001, according to the Times. That’s big growth and it’s meant a big change for yoga teachers. Continue reading