Yoga for Breast-Cancer Related Lymphoedema

This new report describes the experiences of women taking part in a yoga intervention trial for breast cancer-related lymphoedema.

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Lymphoedema is a potential side effect of breast cancer surgery and radiation therapy that can appear in some people during the months or even years after treatment ends.

Lymph is a thin, clear fluid that circulates throughout the body to remove wastes, bacteria, and other substances from tissues. Edema is the buildup of excess fluid. So lymphoedema occurs when too much lymph collects in any area of the body. If lymphoedema develops in people who’ve been treated for breast cancer, it usually occurs in the arm and hand, but sometimes it affects the breast, underarm, chest, trunk, and/or back.

This new report describes the experiences of women taking part in a yoga intervention trial for breast cancer-related lymphoedema. Interviews were conducted with 15 women with stage one breast cancer-related lymphoedema who had completed an eight-week yoga intervention trial. The intervention consisted of a weekly teacher-led 1.5-hour yoga class and a daily home-practice using a 45-minute DVD.

Wonderfully, participants reported improved wellbeing, increased awareness of their physical body as well as improved physical, mental and social functioning. They gained from being part of the yoga group that also provided a forum for them to share their experiences. 9 of the 15 women felt empowered to describe their yoga participation as a transformative journey through illness.

Namaste. Have a beautiful weekend everyone.

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS