Yoga for Cancer Patients

Yoga in general, has been shown to control certain physical functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, metabolism, body temperature and brain waves. Healthy regulation of these systems can allow one to experience improved physical fitness, lower stress levels and increased feelings of relaxation and general well being.

Cancer patients, in particular, struggle with aches and pains, sleeplessness, loss of appetite and often live in a perpetual state of stress. Along these lines, it is easy to understand why yoga can be very beneficial to those suffering from cancer and cancer survivors.

A study conducted by Dr. Karen Mustian at the University of Rochester, supports the theory that yoga can be beneficial when used in an oncology setting. In the study, 410 people who had been treated for early- stage cancers, who were also having sleeping difficulties, were assigned to either a yoga group or a controlled group. The yoga group attended class 2 days per week for four weeks. The controlled group did nothing. At the end of four weeks, the patients in the yoga group reported improved sleep patterns, less fatigue and they just felt better overall. “Yoga is a safe and simple technique that can have multiple benefits for survivors who are looking for solutions,” says Dr. Mustain.

Other research has also shown that that yoga helps improve sleeping patterns, reduce the side effects of cancer treatments and increase physical functioning.

Here are some other yoga benefits for cancer patients:

1. Yoga can help when falling asleep or with staying asleep.

2. Yoga can reduce fatigue.

3. Yoga can help reduce anxiety associated with cancer and cancer-related treatments.

4. Yoga can decrease certain pains associated with cancer.

5. Yoga aids in stress reduction.

6. Yoga can improve flexibility, strength, muscle tone and balance in cancer patients.

As with any physical exercise, individuals should talk to their doctors and/or oncologists before beginning a yoga regimen. Certain positions could cause ligament or joint strain and should be avoided for some cancer patients.

On Saturday, September 13, the Wilmington Yoga Center will host a workshop entitled Healing Yoga for Cancer. The workshop will include a gentle yoga class that will assist individuals suffering from cancer so that they stay on the road to healing. The 2-hour workshop will consist of a healing flow of gentle movements and breathing exercises that will support the immune system and help reduce pain, increase energy, build strength and reconnect one to their body.

Register today!