Exercise and other integrative therapies, including yoga, can ease the symptoms of breast cancer and its treatment, help patients feel better during treatment, and can be scaled to fit each patient’s unique needs and abilities.
For patients who might experience lymphedema following surgery or radiation, yoga can help restore range of motion in the arms and improve strength and mobility. Yoga can also reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn can lower heart rate and blood pressure.
“Research has increasingly shown that breast cancer patients who practice yoga experience many benefits, including increased energy, diminished anxiety, and better overall quality of life,” says Jennifer Ligibel, MD, a breast oncologist in Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers and director of the Zakim Center.
Specific benefits of regular yoga practice include:
- Increased body awareness
- Improved cardiovascular, respiratory, and bone health
- Better blood flow
- Enhanced mood, sleep, and concentration, which are often compromised during treatment
View the infographic below for a step-by-step guide to stretches that will help increase range of motion and body awareness following breast cancer treatment.
Check the Zakim Center’s program calendar to learn more about group programming at Dana-Farber.