The Benefits of Yoga for the Circadian Rhythms of Cancer Survivors
Scientists have just conducted a nationwide, multi-site, randomised, controlled, clinical trial examining the efficacy of yoga for improving circadian rhythm, anxiety and mood among cancer survivors.
How are your circadian rhythms at the start of this New Year?! Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioural changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism's environment. They are found in most living things, including animals, plants and many tiny microbes....and humans of course!
Sadly, many cancer treatments disrupt circadian the rhythm, often exacerbating the anxiety and mood struggles experienced by survivors, ultimately, impairing recovery and quality of life. Scientists have just conducted a nationwide, multi-site, randomised, controlled, clinical trial examining the efficacy of yoga for improving circadian rhythm, anxiety and mood among cancer survivors. Good on them we say :)
410 cancer survivors between 2-24 months post-therapy, who reported no participation in yoga during the prior 3 months, were randomised into 2 arms: 1) standard care, and 2) standard care plus the 4-week yoga intervention (2 x's/wk; 75 min a session). The yoga intervention consisted of pranayama, 18 gentle Hatha and Restorative yoga asanas and meditation. Circadian rhythm, anxiety and mood were assessed pre- and post-intervention.
Results wonderfully indicated a more favorable circadian rhythm in the yoga group. Significant differences were also revealed between groups on anxiety and mood with yoga participants demonstrating greater improvements in anxiety and mood from pre- to post-intervention compared to controls. Researchers concluded that this brief community-based yoga intervention favorably altered circadian rhythm and improved anxiety and mood among the cancer survivors in this study. Super cool huh?! :)