Yoga Eases Side Effects and Discomfort for those Undergoing Cancer Treatment
By Jillian S. McKee
Yoga as a complementary therapy is gaining ground in modern medicine, especially when used to aid individuals suffering from cancer and the associated side effects of its treatment.
This non aerobic, very low impact form of exercise offers a well balanced combination of physical activity and meditation that leads to a greater sense of well-being. By utilizing breathing techniques, meditation, and self awareness through precise postures people experience a level of relaxation and maintain physical fitness without causing trauma. Participants are also given an excellent coping tool for the emotion turmoil that accompanies the disease and therapy.
Cancer by itself can be debilitating in nature, but those who must undergo treatment state that the cure is worse than the illness. Cancer treatments have been linked to fatigue, nausea, headaches, body aches, depression, insomnia, pain, muscle and nerve complications, and the list continues on. In some cases the side effects of the treatment are so severe that a person may need to address them as well. A commonly shared feeling is that the person undergoing treatment does not want to add any more medications to what is already being taken, this gives rise to complementary therapies.
One of the oldest forms of therapy to involve mind and body is the practice of yoga. It began over 5,000 years ago in India and has been used for a number of different ailments through the centuries.
Exercise has long been touted for its ability to aid people who suffer from depression, fatigue, stress, and anxiety; this is an important feature since the growth of cancer has been shown to increase with these conditions. It can also boost the immune response, a great benefit when fighting any ailment.
Cancer and the treatment thereof frequently cause fatigue, pain, and stiffness. The gentle motions involved in the practice of yoga can increase energy levels, improve flexibility and muscle tone, and decrease pain levels.
The breathing and meditation techniques have proven invaluable to those that suffer with rare aggressive diseases such as mesothelioma that is triggered from asbestos exposure or during mesothelioma treatment.
Many cancer treatment centers are implementing the use of yoga for their patients, especially those going through mesothelioma prognosis. In some locations an instructor is provided for individuals during their chemotherapy treatment session.
While this form of therapy is considered safe, it is essential to discuss its use with your attending doctors before implementing it in your medical care regime.
Guest Post written by Jillian S. McKee, a yoga enthusiast and cancer activist.