Yoga is up there with the healthiest activities you can do – it’s low intensity, good for the mind and body, and easy for most ages and abilities.
And according to new research, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) this week, it could even help reduce the risk of cancer spreading or returning, too.
The findings, which are still to be peer-reviewed, showed that a ‘soft’ form of yoga can help cut the risk of malignant disease from reoccurring, the Guardian reported.
The research team studied a tweaked style of hatha yoga called Yoga For Cancer Survivors (YOCAS) to look at how it helped reduce inflammation in the body.
One of the studies used in this week’s ASCO presentation, published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology Journal, showed that yoga can be an important counter to inflammation.
Researchers enrolled over 500 cancer survivors on either a placebo or YOCAS group.
The latter practised YOCAS for 75 minutes a day, twice a week, for four weeks, and the placebo group went through a similar health education period, with both programmes being led by certified health professionals.
The scientists collected serum samples from both groups before and after the programmes to assess the levels of inflammation.
What they found was that the YOCAS group had “significantly lower” overall signs of inflammation versus the placebo group.
Researchers said clinicians should consider prescribing this type of yoga for cancer survivors experiencing inflammation.
This is because inflammation could “lead to a high chronic toxicity burden and increased risk of progression, recurrence, and second cancers,” they said.
According to Cancer Research UK, inflammation can be a helpful shield against microscopic invaders, but when too much inflammation builds in the body, it can aid in tumour growth and cause it to spread around the body.