Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yoga Helps Cancer Patients by Krista Peterson

                     Mental, physical benefits draw cancer patients to yoga

The treatment stage for cancer patients can often be a brutal and difficult experience. Routine therapy processes like chemotherapy and radiation have been known to bring on multiple side effects that plague patients for an extended period of time during treatment. Luckily, there’s been an increased effort to explore complementary therapies in the past decade that are geared to help cut down on side effects from traditional treatment.

One of the more popular options in complementary therapy has been yoga, which built a great track record of providing patients with benefits in a physical and mental sense. Yoga can also be participated in different schedules. Some patients have taken to participating once or twice a week in a long session, while others may prefer to take part in daily sessions in the morning and before bed.

One of the primary reasons that yoga has become so popular outside of the medical community is because of its physical benefits. Many use it for exercise because it seems to hit every area of the body and this is no different for cancer patients. Many use yoga intertwined during their treatment process to help relieve physical ailments that plague them. Arthritis patients invest yoga use because it helps to alleviate body pain and improve range of motion. Some of the physical benefits that are most important to cancer patients are yoga’s success in reducing side effects like vomiting and nausea that are common with chemotherapy and radiation.

The mental benefits are also important for cancer patients. Yoga allows these patients the opportunity to take part in an activity that can provide time for meditation and reflection. This time of peace is something that can often be taken for granted in the medical community. As health care has become ever more specialized over the years, the need for a break from tests and treatment has become even more valuable. One excellent example of yoga’s effect from a mental aspect includes the impact that it has had on mesothelioma patients. This is a type of cancer that occurs in the lungs as a result of asbestos exposure and has a severely low life expectancy rate. These patients use yoga as a way to shut off the stress and fear that often consume their lives following diagnosis.

Moving forward, yoga will certainly be an excellent complementary treatment option for the future. Its ability to provide numerous physical benefits, as well as helping patients gain a time of peace will continue to make it a popular choice to alleviate treatment related side effects.

(Krista Peterson has contributed this guest article to Yoga At Heart and I thank her for the time and effort she has put into this piece.  I would also like to add that cancer is something that crosses our path one way or the other, directly or indirectly.  It is difficult for those who have loved ones going through this phase and for those who had it.  I am sure that everyone deals with cancer in many different ways, but there's one thing I hope and wish for them, is to find their inner strength and determination to live freely in hope, faith, peacefulness and calmness.  Whether it be through yoga, tai chi, other forms of complementary therapy, music, love, family or even through your own form of faith.  In light, Namaste)

No comments: