Studies show that yoga can decrease symptoms associated with cancer and its sometimes harsh treatments such as chemotherapy and radiations. Studies have shown that nausea, headaches, and fatigue are greatly reduced by yoga. Yoga can also be helpful for mental or emotional issues such as anxiety and depression related to the stress of having to live with such a burden. A study published in 2009 showed that 100 cancer patients who practiced yoga before undergoing surgery were much more likely to tolerate side effects of the procedure such as pain and post-surgical nausea. Researchers have also found that the overall quality of life in cancer patients who do yoga is drastically higher than in those who do not.
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There are a lot of types of yoga, with each branch of the practice differing widely as to what organ systems are helped. For instance, Hatha yoga is a wonderful way of reducing muscle pain and to relax, thus reducing stress. In comparison, Kundalini yoga may be better for the patient who is suffering from fatigues and wishes to increase energy levels.
Staying motivated to exercise while suffering from cancer can seem like a daunting task. Changing the types of yoga done can help add some variety and excitement, thus increasing the chances that the patient will keep yoga in his her life. Asking a friend of family member to do yoga can is helpful, and writing down what he or she wants to achieve while practicing it can also add incentive.
Because of the widely varying levels of yoga, there is almost certainly a type which is suitable for any level of activity. This makes the practice relatively safe for the cancer patient. This type of activity is good for any type of cancer patient including liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, and even rare forms like epithelial mesothelioma. It should not, however, be used as a primary treatment for cancer as it is not known to prevent or stop cancer growth. Any patient thinking of implementing yoga into their cancer management program should ask their oncologist whether or not it is a suitable option.
Editor’s Note: Consult your physician for embarking on any program. Also note that while this post specifically has dealt with cancer patients, yoga has been shown to benefit people of all ages and health.
Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.