Why We’re Testing Y4C: Yoga for Cancer Patients, Survivors

Yoga for Cancer
Print icon

Many cancer patients seek out yoga to provide comfort, relaxation, reduce pain and anxiety.

Yoga, the ancient Indian system, incorporates physical exercise and movement with mental and spiritual practice. In the United States, yoga is one of the most common forms of integrative medicine.

But not all forms of yoga are suitable for cancer patients. That’s why the Hartford Healthcare Cancer Institute has partnered with Tari Prinster, a cancer survivor and founder of yoga4cancer (also known as y4c), to conduct a pilot and feasibility study on this type of yoga for our patients.

What is y4c? It’s a specialized yoga method focusing on the physical needs of cancer patients resulting from both the disease and its treatment. This combination of breath and movement improves well-being by stimulating the immune system, enhancing strength and flexibility and reducing anxiety.

“At first glance,” says Prinster, “the idea of yoga for cancer patients undergoing treatment or in survivorship seems a logical step to manage anxiety, gain strength, increase flexibility and create feelings of well-being. Those should be the goals and ‘job’ of every cancer patient and survivor — along with keeping their immune system strong to avoid a recurrence. Based on evidence and research, all these good things can happen with yoga.”

There’s little doubt that yoga is good for cancer patients. In a 2018 evaluation of 138 studies, the NIH’s Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found most studies revealed yoga improved “patients’ physical and psychological symptoms and quality of life.”

The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute now wants to assess the feasibility of adding y4c to our comprehensive cancer program. Our goals include:

1)    Training high-quality yoga providers in the y4c method,

2)    Developing an approved protocol that would begin assess changes in activities of daily living and quality of live,

3)    Enrolling cancer patients into the hospital-based y4c program.

Although we support the practice of yoga for cancer patients, there have been concerns about the varying levels of training, certification and expertise of practitioners,. That can make it difficult for patients, families and clinicians to select an appropriate yoga style during and after the patient’s medical treatment.

Many patients and members of the Cancer Institute health care team have also expressed a desire for greater high-quality data on the types of yoga, dose (duration and intensity) and the assessment of clinical benefit through documentation of pain, anxiety, concomitant use of medications and the potential benefits to overall quality of life.

We now have five y4c-trained yoga providers who will participate in our pilot y4c program. Starting in September, y4c will again be offered at our cancer centers:

  • Bone & Joint Institute Yoga Studio on the Hartford Hospital campus.
  • The Hospital of Central Connecticut on the Plainville Campus.
  • MidState Hospital in Meriden.

If you’re interested in learning more about y4c or participating in out pilot and feasibility study at one of our Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute locations, call 860.972.4444 or email therapies.integrative@hhchealth.org.

Dr. Eric R. Secor Jr. is the Associate Medical Director, Integrative Medicine, at Hartford Hospital.

 


What's New

Walk on the Beach

Is it Safe to Take a Summer Vacation, Even Fly?

Distancing, both physical and social, is the buzzword of the year and one Hartford HealthCare (HHC) experts want you to remember as the state reopens and you begin venturing out of your home this summer. The warmer months, when kids are traditionally of school, are a time when many people...

COVID and Pets

CDC’s COVID-19 Update Spares Pets, Downgrades Threat of Infected Surfaces

COVID-19 spreads more person-to-person than surface-to-person or animal-to-person, according to the latest update guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The person-to-person spread surprises no one, but the CDC has downgraded the risk of  touching a contaminated surface, then infecting yourself by touching your nose, eyes or mouth....


Windham paramedic program honors 25 years

Since its inception 25 years ago, the paramedic program at Windham Hospital has saved countless lives, built partnerships with 16 fire departments and served the 400-square-mile community around the hospital. In 1995, the town of Windham recognized the need for paramedic or advanced life support services in the Windham and...

Public Restroom

Is it Safe to Use a Public Bathroom During COVID-19?

As the country reopens, state by state, is there public trust in public restrooms? Put it this way: At last check, New York’s subway system had one bathroom per 53,000 riders. In Connecticut, public restrooms remain closed at most state parks. Elsewhere, will people change their hygiene habits when in...

COVID-19 Blood

Where to Get a COVID-19 Antibody Test, And Why

During the COVID-19 surge in Connecticut, diagnostic tests  performed with a nasal swab were critical in determining who had been infected with the coronavirus. Now, as the state’s economy reopens, a blood test is helping health professionals detect an immune response in people who were infected and also identify people were...

Depression

New: COVID-Related Behavioral Health Hotline

In any catastrophe, the medical needs must be tended first, followed by a wave of behavioral health issues that can last for months and years. The COVID-19 infection rate peaked in Connecticut at the end of April and now the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network (BHN) is preparing for increased demand...

Skin Cancer

If a Spot Looks Like This, it Could be Skin Cancer

The sun feels amazing on your face after a wet, dismal spring, but just a few moments of unprotected exposure can bring even more dismal consequences. During Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Girish Mohan, director of cosmetic and laser dermatology with Hartford HealthCare Dermatology, wants to remind people that protecting...