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Friday, May 13, 2011

Yoga-Helping Cancer Patients Both Physically & Mentally

The routine and traditional therapy sessions for cancer patients can be one of the most difficult things imaginable. Chemotherapy and radiation can have a number of lasting side effects that have a direct impact on the quality of life for patients. Luckily, patients have been investing time in complementary treatment processes to help alleviate some of these side effects. Among the most popular options in complementary therapy is yoga, which can have a great effect on both the physical and mental state of cancer patients.

Yoga has gained a ton of popularity with these patients because it is an option that can be participated in different times and sessions. Some patients may take part in daily classes in the morning and at night. Others may opt for a longer session, usually around an hour long, once or twice a week.

Yoga’s physical benefits have made it a growing exercise option within the last few decades. For cancer patients, the benefits can be the same. Yoga allows these patients to improve their flexibility and help keep them in shape. These patients can not only improve the body, but also help alleviate some of the common physical side effects of normal treatment as well. Yoga is known to cut down on nausea and dizziness in the wake of chemotherapy and radiation, which is crucial. For patients who may have arthritis or pain, yoga is often a reliever of pain and can help improve the body’s range of motion.

From a mental standpoint, the benefits of yoga are unmatched when it comes to patients with cancer and other chronic diseases. Yoga can provide that time for peace of mind that is so often lost within the treatment process of a disease. With specialization being important in hospitals these days, patients are often seeing multiple physicians and nurses, leading to a hustle and bustle within the hospital. Yoga allows a break from constant visits from the doctor, tests, and simply an opportunity to free the mind. A great example of the impact that yoga can have is on mesothelioma cancer patients. This is a cancer in the lungs with a severe life expectancy that occurs from asbestos exposure. With such a severe life expectation, many of these patients use yoga as a time to cut off from the stress and fear that is common. The ability to free the mind, allow peace and tranquility is something that may be taken for granted in everyday life, but for these patients it can be an extraordinary experience.

Yoga will likely continue to grow in the medical community because of its versatility as a complementary treatment option. Not only can it improve the physical well being of these patients through exercise, but it can also alleviate physical side effects and improve the mental state of being for patients in difficult times.

Article by Krista Peterson

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