Health Magazine

Yoga Improves Quality of Life for Cancer Patients

By Nadine

This is a guest post from Jillian McKee, a complementary care
advocate for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.
Many people find that yoga is good for helping with flexibility and centered thoughts. However, recent studies by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners have found many benefits to this ancient technique for cancer patients. The studies examined the use of yoga relieving symptoms such as insomnia, pain and fatigue from mesothelioma cancer therapy.
Before beginning yoga, cancer patients should talk with their oncologist for recommendations. Some positions associated with yoga might place a strain on joints and ligaments, having detrimental effects on cancer patients. Once the oncologist clears patients, they can begin yoga.
Cancer patients who participated in various studies have reported numerous benefits to yoga improving their quality of life. Cancer treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy can negatively affect a person’s well being while fighting the growth of cancer cells. Many of these effects include insomnia, pain, fatigue, and loss of appetite, stress and anxiety.
Yoga might help cancer patients who suffer from insomnia to relax and get a good night’s sleep. For some patients, yoga can also decrease the pain caused by some cancer treatments. Typically, patients also take pain medications and experience a marked improvement when combined with yoga.
Another way that mesothelioma life expectancy and quality of life improves through yoga is the decrease in fatigue, giving patients more energy to enjoy other things. Some patients experience a loss of appetite after a cancer diagnosis; however, yoga can help to relax the mind and restore the appetite.
A cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatments can cause stress for many patients. Practicing yoga helps to reduce the stress levels many people experience. Studies have shown stress is reduced on two levels. Clinically, some patients reported feeling less stressed while attending yoga classes. Physically, stress in the body was also reduced with lower blood cortisol levels. Cortisol is believed to cause cancer to progress.
Yoga may also reduce the anxiety level cancer patients have during treatment. The breathing practices and centering activities play an important role.
The benefits of yoga improve the quality of life for cancer patients by relieving symptoms. Yoga is not a form of cancer treatment. Patients should not participate in classes to replace the treatment plan prescribed by their oncologist. Rather, yoga is integrated with treatment to help patients cope with the symptoms.

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