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Keywords:

  • yoga;
  • meditation;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • complementary therapies;
  • supportive care;
  • stress

This study examined the effect of an integrated yoga programme on chemotherapy-related nausea and emesis in early operable breast cancer outpatients. Sixty-two subjects were randomly allocated to receive yoga (n = 28) or supportive therapy intervention (n = 34) during the course of their chemotherapy. Both groups had similar socio-demographic and medical characteristics. Intervention consisted of both supervised and home practice of yoga sessions lasting for 60 min daily, while the control group received supportive therapy and coping preparation during their hospital visits over a complete course of chemotherapy. The primary outcome measure was the Morrow Assessment of Nausea and Emesis (MANE) assessed after the fourth cycle of chemotherapy. Secondary outcomes included measures for anxiety, depression, quality of life, distressful symptoms and treatment-related toxicity assessed before and during the course of chemotherapy. Following yoga, there was a significant decrease in post-chemotherapy-induced nausea frequency (P = 0.01) and nausea intensity (P = 0.01), and intensity of anticipatory nausea (P = 0.01) and anticipatory vomiting (P = 0.05) as compared with the control group. There was a significant positive correlation between MANE scores and anxiety, depression and distressful symptoms. In conclusion, the results suggest a possible use for stress reduction interventions such as yoga in complementing conventional antiemetics to manage chemotherapy-related nausea and emesis.