Yoga for Cancer Patients
More and more people suffering from the disease have begun to turn to natural methods, such as yoga for cancer, to help them combat the psychological side-effects of their trials. Even the American Cancer Society advocates yoga for cancer patients as a “complementary therapy” to “reduce levels of stress and bring about feelings of relazation and well-being . . . [and] enhance quality of life for some patients with cancer.” (www.cancer.org)
Yoga helps those suffering from cancer release the tension in their bodies and clouding their minds, allowing them to settle into a relaxed, alert state. Those who practice yoga for cancer report feeling healthier inside and better able to handle the ongoing stress of their trial. For many, yoga therapy for cancer establishes a sense of serenity in the storm of the cancer treatment process. In addition, fighting the disease from this place of well-being results in greater success with traditional treatment programs.
These feelings of greater well-being are physiologically verifiable: when practising yoga, cancer survivors and cancer patients stimulate increased blood flow to different parts of the body, clearing out toxins and bringing nourishment to the cells. Naturally, they begin to feel more alive. Yoga breathing for cancer also encourages well-being; since oxygen helps purify the blood and aids in the elimination of toxins, a greater oxygen intake will help clean up and revitalize one’s system.
On top of this, the group support gained by attending a regular yoga for cancer class can help bolster spirits and even increase physical well-being. This comes as no surprise: a study conducted by Stanford psychiatrist David Spiegel in 1989 found that support group participation contributed to the longevity of women with metastatic breast cancer. Cancer patients practising yoga therapy report that in addition to the stress-reduction benefits of the yoga practice itself, the group environment of the class provides a familial comfort.
Yoga therapy for cancer patients and survivors alike can bring a much-needed sense of calm, and help relieve the mental and emotional weight that accompanies the cancer treatment process. For many cancer patients, yoga therapy is a means to establish a sense of inner health, which they then find carries over into all aspects of their lives.