Yoga intervention for children with cancer can be carried out even during treatment, and it can benefit quality of life (QOL) for children as well as their parents, according to new research.

The study appears in a special issue of Rehabilitation Oncology—official journal of the Oncology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association—focused on pediatric oncology physical therapy and cancer rehabilitation.

“Our findings support the notion that yoga for pediatric cancer patients during active treatment is feasible and potentially helpful in improving both patient and parent well-being,” according to the research, led by Dr Andrea Orsey of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford, in a media release from Wolters Kluwer Health.

In a pair of preliminary studies, Orsey and colleagues evaluated the feasibility and effectiveness of a yoga intervention for children with cancer and their families.

First, the researchers conducted an initial survey of 20 children and adolescents with cancer and their parents who expressed interest in doing yoga during treatment. In the survey, the participants noted their perceived barriers to such a program, such as concerns about side effects, pain/discomfort, and physical limitations.

The researchers then developed a yoga intervention for pediatric cancer patients, delivered by certified yoga instructors. The program was designed to be performed in a variety of settings and tailored to the children’s physical condition or mobility issues.

A pilot evaluation that included 10 children with cancer and their family members/caregivers suggested improvements in health-related QOL for both parents and children, including social and emotional QOL. In addition, both parents and children were highly satisfied with the yoga program and said they would recommend it to others, the release explains.

The pilot study will help to guide future efforts to provide the benefits of yoga to children with cancer and their families. A key issue will be coordinating yoga sessions with the medical demands of chemotherapy, per the release.

[Source(s): Wolters Kluwer Health, EurekAlert]