Thursday, August 11, 2011

                 Yoga Practice Brings Cancer Patients Solace
                                                             By Jillian McKee

A cancer diagnosis such as mesothelioma can bring feelings of shock, anger and betrayal. When treatment begins, the patient can be overwhelmed physically and spiritually and may need the support of a yoga program to get back in balance and may increase life expectancy.

Cancer patients can receive many benefits from yoga. Besides improving the ability to relax, obtain proper sleep and reducing stress, yoga can also improve digestion, posture, joint flexibility and overall physical strength. Many researchers are looking into the long-term effects yoga has on cancer patients and
mesothelioma prognosis.

The breathing technique used in yoga may help patients the most with healing. Breathing deep and from the stomach helps the mind to focus on the postures and find a peaceful place in the mind away from the pain and stress of treatment. Breath work can be the most difficult thing for a patient to learn, as humans have a tendency to breathe from the mouth rather than the nose. Nose breathing brings relaxation while mouth breathing tends to raise anxiety levels.

Yoga is the best form of exercise for people who are physically weakened from chemotherapy and other treatments. Each patient can assess what postures they are capable of and build from there while their strength increases. Many patients report regular yoga improved their overall energy levels and helped them cope with their treatment and find their way to recovery faster.

Cancer patients often think of the
mind and body as being separate and forget that the battle they are valiantly fighting is really against themselves. Yoga can lead the mind to a place of clarity and also help it to get out of the way and allow the physical body to begin healing.

Yoga classes can also provide friendship and support to those fighting cancer and the peace and energy renewal found there can carry over into everyday life.

While most patients will have little to no trouble practicing yoga, they should always check with their health care team to make sure they are truly up to the task. Yoga has many benefits but it is not always suitable in all situations.

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