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REVIEW ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-17
Managing lymphedema, increasing range of motion, and quality of life through yoga therapy among breast cancer survivors: A systematic review

1 Yoga Vahini Foundation, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Fenivi Research Solutions, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Vasudevan Saraswathi
Yoga Vahini Foundation, Lakshmi Nilayam Apartments, 19th Street, AGS Colony, Kottivakkam, Chennai - 600 041, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_73_19

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Lymphedema is a common complication of breast cancer treatment. Yoga is a nonconventional and noninvasive intervention that is reported to show beneficial effects in patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL). This study attempted to systematically review the effect of yoga therapy on managing lymphedema, increasing the range of motion (ROM), and quality of life (QOL) among breast cancer survivors. The review search included studies from electronic bibliographic databases, namely Medline (PubMed), Embase, and Google Scholar till June 2019. Studies which assessed the outcome variables such as QOL and management of lymphedema or related physical symptoms as effect of yoga intervention were considered for review. Two authors individually reviewed, selected according to Cochrane guidelines, and extracted the articles using Covidence software. Screening process of this review resulted in a total of seven studies. The different styles of yoga employed in the studies were Iyengar yoga (n = 2), Satyananda yoga (n = 2), Hatha yoga (n = 2), and Ashtanga yoga (n = 1). The length of intervention and post intervention analysis ranged from 8 weeks to 12 months. Four studies included home practice sessions. QOL, ROM, and musculoskeletal symptoms showed improvement in all the studies. Yoga could be a safe and feasible exercise intervention for BCRL patients. Evidence generated from these studies was of moderate strength. Further long-term clinical trials with large sample size are essential for the development and standardization of yoga intervention guidelines for BCRL patients.

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