Background: Research suggests that stress-reduction programs tailored to the cancer setting help patients cope with the effects of treatment and improve their quality of life. Yoga, an ancient Eastern science, incorporates stress-reduction techniques that include regulated breathing, visual imagery, and meditation as well as various postures. The authors examined the effects of the Tibetan yoga (TY) practices of Tsa lung and Trul khor, which incorporate controlled breathing and visualization, mindfulness techniques, and low-impact postures in patients with lymphoma.
Methods: Thirty-nine patients with lymphoma who were undergoing treatment or who had concluded treatment within the past 12 months were assigned to a TY group or to a wait-list control group. Patients in the TY group participated in 7 weekly yoga sessions, and patients in the wait-list control group were free to participate in the TY program after the 3-month follow-up assessment.
Results: Eighty nine percent of TY participants completed at least 2-3 three yoga sessions, and 58% completed at least 5 sessions. Patients in the TY group reported significantly lower sleep disturbance scores during follow-up compared with patients in the wait-list control group (5.8 vs. 8.1; P < 0.004). This included better subjective sleep quality (P < 0.02), faster sleep latency (P < 0.01), longer sleep duration (P < 0.03), and less use of sleep medications (P < 0.02). There were no significant differences between groups in terms of intrusion or avoidance, state anxiety, depression, or fatigue.
Conclusions: The participation rates suggested that a TY program is feasible for patients with cancer and that such a program significantly improves sleep-related outcomes. However, there were no significant differences between groups for the other outcomes.
Copyright 2004 American Cancer Society.