Cancer patients who practice yoga as therapy during their treatment often refer to their yoga practice as a life-saver. No matter how sick from treatments and no matter how little energy, many find that the one thing that would bring relief were a gentle set of therapeutic yoga poses geared for cancer patients.
When battling cancer, the worst part is not just the symptoms of the disease itself, but often the discomfort and debilitating fatigue brought on from cancer treatments. Whether faced with the scar-tissue of surgery or ongoing nausea and weakne ss from chemotherapy or radiation, cancer patients endure a long road of physical trials.
But as many cancer patients and cancer survivors are discovering, there are ways to strengthen their bodies and deal with the uncomfortable side-effects of treatment, both during and after treatment. As the interest in more holistic approaches to healing is growing, yoga therapy for cancer patients and cancer survivors is emerging as one of the more successful methods for combating the physical discomfort of cancer and cancer treatment.
How does yoga help relieve the suffering that cancer all too often brings with it? Gentle yoga poses for cancer patients can work magic on many levels. First of all, yoga used as therapy for cancer can help clear out toxins accrued during cancer treatment more effectively. Yoga asanas stimulate not just muscles, but also increases blood flow, balances the glands and enhances the lymphatic flow in the body, all of which enhances the body’s internal purification processes. The deep, relaxing breathing often emphasized in yoga for cancer therapy also increases the current of oxygen-rich blood to the cells, delivering vital nutrients to tired cells and further clearing out toxins.
In addition to removing toxins, yoga for cancer can help dissipate tension and anxiety and enable cancer patients to settle into a greater sense of ease and well-being. Stress depresses the body’s natural immune function, which may be one of the reasons that there is evidence that people who practice yoga for cancer have greater recovery rates.
Regular exercise also has been shown to stimulate the body’s natural anti-cancer defenses. However, few cancer patients or cancer survivors feel up to the task of engaging in a ‘regular’ exercise regimen. Many find that yoga as therapy for cancer provides an ideal, balanced form of whole-body exercise. It’s no wonder that more and more doctors have begun to recommend yoga for cancer patients and cancer survivors.
For those enduring chemotherapy and radiation, yoga for cancer provides a means to strengthen the body, boost them immune system, and produce a much-sought-after feeling of well-being. For those recovering from surgery, such as that for breast cancer, yoga can help restore motion and flexibility in a gentle, balanced manner.
Yoga for cancer survivors and patients also provides an internal anchor of calm. Many practicing yoga therapy have discovered an interesting, subtle benefit, an increased awareness of a great, internal stillness and sense of unity. They’ve found, at the most fundamental level of their own consciousness, a sense of true health and vitality that spills over into other aspects of life.