Newswise — Researchers from ProMedica Cancer Institute have released new findings about the benefits of Nia exercise for individuals with breast cancer. Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that heals the body using music and movement. The results of a 12-week study indicate that Nia significantly reduced fatigue in patients receiving radiation therapy. Patients also reported better mobility in their arms and shoulders. This is the first national study to investigate how Nia affects patients undergoing cancer treatment. The findings are published in the Oncology Nursing Forum.

The ProMedica Cancer Institute study involved 41 women undergoing radiation therapy for early and advanced stage breast cancer. Twenty were randomized to a Nia group and required to exercise for 20-60 minutes, three times a week. The 19 other participants were instructed to continue their normal daily activities. At the end of the 12 weeks, women in the Nia group shared that they had more energy and felt stronger compared to the control group.

“Eighty percent of cancer patients receiving radiation therapy experience fatigue,” says Deb Reis, RN, Lead Researcher. “Nia fuels energy using gentle stretching and upper-body movements that help strengthen the chest area.”

Nia incorporates a wide range of diverse movement styles from practices, including martial arts, jazz and contemporary dance and yoga. The exercise stimulates the nervous system while improving flexibility, strength, mobility, agility and stability. Nia was developed in the 1980s and is practiced in more than 45 countries.

The research was funded by a grant from ProMedica and the University of Toledo. The co-authors of the study were Debra Reis, RN, ProMedica Cancer Institute; Eileen Walsh, PhD, RN, University of Toledo School of Nursing; Stacey Young-McCoughlin, PhD, RN, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; and Tisha Jones, MSW, ProMedica Cancer Institute.

ProMedica Cancer Institute will begin a follow-up study this month to learn more about how Nia can benefit patients going through cancer treatment, including chemotherapy. The institute offers comprehensive cancer treatment, clinical trials and support programs to patients throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

For more information about the Nia research study, call 419-824-1878. For more information about ProMedica Cancer Institute, visit

Register for reporter access to contact details

Oncology Nursing Forum