Yoga used to aid in menopause treatment

April 12, 2008 10:19:48 AM PDT
Researchers at Duke have uncovered a non-traditional way to help breast cancer survivors.

The women often have more severe symptoms of menopause, but researchers say relief may be just a yoga mat away.

The ancient practice of yoga has been known to have many benefits including calming the mind and body, but breast cancer survivors like Janet Grady have discovered yoga is just what the doctor ordered to treat her symptoms of menopause.

Breast cancer survivors often have more severe menopausal symptoms with limited treatment choices because things like hormone replacement therapy may increase a risk for reoccurrence.

Some symptoms include hot flashes and difficulty sleeping.

But new research from Duke University finds breast cancer survivors like Grady had a decrease in symptoms after spending eight weeks doing a tailored program.

"It is a good alternative," Dr. Laura Porter, Duke University, said. "I think it's something they can do themselves."

Yoga instructor Nancy Kimberly says the poses are gentle. "There's a lot of emphasis on moving with your breath."

While Duke researchers found the benefits of yoga helped reduce the menopausal symptoms in breast cancer patients, they aren't exactly sure why it works.

"Yoga promotes a sense of invigoration, yet relaxation so psychologically that's very helpful in dealing with symptoms, menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and fatigue," Dr. Porter said.

Grady has her own theory on why it works. "One of the real benefits of this program is just to give you some tools to be aware of what's happening in your body and relax about it. It sort of helps you put your experience into perspective."

Yoga has put Grady's menopausal symptoms into perspective by decreasing them. She's feeling much more centered through the ancient art of yoga.


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