Yoga and Cancer Patients

[Editor’s Note:  This is a guest post from Krista Peterson, an aspiring writer and health advocate.  If you’d like to read more of her writing, just Google her name.]

"In truth, it matters less what we do in practice than how we do it and why we do it. The same posture, the same sequence, the same meditation with a different intention takes on an entirely new meaning and will have entirely different outcomes." (Donna Farhi)

With the growing nature of specialization in hospitals today, individual patients are often placed with numerous physicians and nurses in a fast paced hospital situation. For many of these patients, an opportunity to slow down and find some relaxation is always valuable. Because of this need for a time of relaxation and peace of mind, as well as physical aspects, yoga has quickly become a major option in complementary treatment therapy for cancer patients.

Most people are well aware of the benefits that are common with yoga from a physical and exercising standpoint. Yoga can also have a great effect on the physical nature of a cancer patient as well. Muscle tension and body aches are common problems for many of these patients and yoga can be a great fix throughout the treatment process. Yoga has also proven to be a great help to lowering blood pressure and helping the central nervous system of cancer patients.

From a mental standpoint, the use of yoga can also be a great positive for cancer patients. This is largely a result of yoga’s ability to create peace of mind and relaxation for these patients during the treatment process. With weeks filled with constant checkups and tests combined with many different therapies, a departure from the fast paced hospital environment is widely accepted.

The versatility in different types of yoga use is another reason it has gained such popularity with cancer patients. They can choose from different routines and times of use. Many patients elect to take a daily ten-minute session in the morning and at night. Some others choose for an hour-long session once a week to shut their bodies off from the world. Because of these choices, yoga has become so popular with patients.

Patients with a number of different illnesses are using yoga as a complementary treatment option these days. There have been cases of patients with arthritis, mesothelioma, diabetes, and other types of cancer that have all used yoga to their advantage during the treatment process. Yoga has been known to help all of these patients with muscle soreness and in improving their range of motion, cutting down on the stressors of the body. It’s also a major help in reducing the side effects of routine therapy such as chemotherapy like nausea and dizziness. For some others, it can allow the chance for relaxation and peace of mind during a severe diagnosis. For example, mesothelioma life expectancy only has an average of eight to 14 months; therefore these patients can use a departure and opportunity to free their minds any chance they can get.

With all different types of illness, yoga is a great addition to a normal routine of treatment. Physicians are even suggesting the use of yoga as a complementary treatment option to help their patients reap the benefits. Given yoga’s ability to have a positive effect on patients in both the mental and physical aspect, expect it to grow as a treatment therapy option in the coming years.

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