Cancer – and the treatments for the disease – can be challenging for both the body and mind. People who are battling cancer, and those who are surviving the disease after treatment, may feel fatigue, pain, anxiety, depression, and other symptoms.
Yoga, however, may offer relief for many cancer-related symptoms. This ancient practice is designed to bring together the spirit, the body, and the mind so they work in unison. While practicing yoga, people hold their bodies in certain positions as they focus on breathing rhythmically.
This provides physical activity – which is good for the body – and a welcome break from worries and stress that are weighing on the mind.
Researchers have conducted a number of studies measuring the effects of yoga in people with cancer, especially breast cancer. This research has found that the possible benefits of the practice include:
- Less fatigue
- Better sleep
- Less distress
- Better appetite
- More positive outlook
- Less depression
- Improved mental function
- Better physical function
It is important to talk to your doctor before beginning a yoga class to make sure that your body can handle the activity. Discuss whether you should avoid overexertion, excessive heat (a type of yoga called bikram yoga is done in an especially warm room), or any particular positions or postures.
Before starting a class, tell the instructor about your illness and any limitations it has created. Make sure the instructor has experience working with people with chronic health problems. Your health care provider may be able to recommend a yoga class specifically designed for people with health issues.
West Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers the latest advances in state-of-the-art cancer care. Our highly trained physicians and other providers diagnose and treat cancer in a caring, convenient setting. To learn more about our cancer treatment services, call (818) 676-4321.