Fatigue is a major problem in children and adolescents receiving intensive chemotherapy for cancer and in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients. Exercise is an effective intervention for cancer-related fatigue in patients of all ages; however, patients receiving the most intensive treatments may be too ill to participate in a standardized exercise program. A unique and potentially effective intervention that combines exercise and relaxation is yoga.
Yoga is an ideal intervention for pediatric patients receiving the most intensive chemotherapy because in these patients the ability to participate in physical activity varies considerably dependent on timing relative to chemotherapy initiation. Yoga allows the tailoring of an exercise program which is individually suited to that patient at that time point. Other advantages of yoga are the ability to deliver the program in any location without the need for specialized equipment and the ability to allow a family member to participate with the child.
Recognizing the potential benefit of yoga for children receiving intensive chemotherapy, the Sung team has made yoga the focus of multiple research studies including a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of individualized yoga for inpatient children receiving intensive chemotherapy, a feasibility study examining the impact of outpatient yoga on distress and well-being in adolescents receiving chemotherapy, and currently a randomized controlled trial
of individualized yoga to reduce fatigue in hospitalized children receiving intensive chemotherapy.
- Diorio C, Schechter-Finkelstein T, Lee M, O’Sullivan C, Hesser T, Tomlinson D, Piscione J, Armstrong C, Tomlinson G, Sung L: A pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of individualized yoga for inpatient children receiving intensive chemotherapy. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015:24(15):2.
- Diorio C, Celis A, Hesser T, O’Sullivan C, Lee M, Schechter T, Sung L: Development of an individualized yoga intervention to address fatigue in hospitalized children undergoing intensive chemotherapy. Integrative Cancer Therapies 2016:15(3):279-84.