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Yoga Protocol for Cancer Patients: A Systematic Exploration of Psychophysiological Benefits

[ Vol. 14 , Issue. 4 ]

Author(s):

Mara Mirandola*, Miguel David Sabogal Rueda, Federica Andreis, Fausto Meriggi, Claudio Codignola, Elena Gadaldi, Tiziana Prochilo, Michela Libertini, Brunella Di Biasi, Chiara Abeni, Silvia Noventa, Luigina Rota, Chiara Ogliosi and Alberto Zaniboni   Pages 261 - 268 ( 8 )

Abstract:


Background: Several studies report that practicing Yoga may lead to numerous psychophysiological benefits in patients undergoing treatment for cancer. Moreover, it may result in an effective alternative for coping with sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression and fatigue symptoms. A study based on the “Yoga in Oncology” project of the Foundation Poliambulanza was carried out, and it was designed to explore the benefits of Yoga, therefore corroborating Yoga as a therapeutic activity that can have a beneficial impact on patients diagnosed with cancer.

Methods: Seventy patients were recruited, of whom 20% were males and 80% were females 18 years of age and older. All patients were being treated at the oncology department for gastrointestinal, mammary or genital carcinoma, and the disease was metastatic in 80% of patients. Data were collected between April 2013 and May 2017. The protocol consisted of a weekly 90-minute Yoga lesson for 8 consecutive weeks, and the data collection was carried out in 2 phases: (T0) preprotocol assessment and (T1) postprotocol assessment. Psychophysiological assessment was carried out with the following scales: the (BFI) Brief Fatigue Inventory, (HADS) Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and (PSQI) Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.

Results: Data analysis showed a significant difference between the (T0) and (T1) HADS (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) scores. The constructs of this scale consist of psychological variables for the assessment of anxiety and depression. In contrast, scores from the (BFI) Brief Fatigue Inventory and (PSQI) Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index did not show significant differences between (T0) and (T1): such scales are relative to psychophysiological variables for an assessment of the perception of fatigue and quality of sleep.

Conclusion: It is noteworthy that the data, once analyzed, showed a significant difference between preprotocol and postprotocol levels of anxiety and depression but not for the perception of fatigue or the quality of sleep. In accordance with the scientific literature, data from this study highlight that practicing Yoga may promote changes in the levels of perceived anxiety and depression in patients undergoing treatment for cancer, thus positively affecting their (QoL). It is clear that the difference in significance between the psychological and physiological variables considered here and the statistical significance found only in levels of anxiety and depression encourage further studies to account for the nature of fatigue and sleep disturbances and how to address these symptoms in oncological patients. Moreover, other points of interest for future clinical research regard the evaluation of the reason for the possible denial to participate to this kind of study, as well as the social-cultural differences in patients’ behavior.

Keywords:

Anxiety, cancer, depression, fatigue, sleep quality, yoga.

Affiliation:

Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, General Surgery Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia, Oncology Department, Poliambulanza Foundation, via Leonida Bissolati 57, 25124 Brescia

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