As a health and spiritual practice, yoga enjoys the distinction of being both ancient and perpetually trendy, particularly in the United States. While the ubiquity of yoga classes, studios, and stream of celebrity devotees can sometimes make it seem like just another workout craze with little substance for the uninitiated, in reality, experts agree that regularly practicing yoga can offer serious benefits for both mind and body. For people in treatment for cancer, it can also help to mitigate many of the physical, mental, and emotional side effects inherent in the treatment process.
Yoga and Cancer
According to a recent Harvard Medical School Mental Health Letter, yoga offers many positive results that can benefit people in treatment for cancer, and at any stage of health, such as:
- reduces stress and anxiety
- lowers heart rate and blood pressure
- eases respiration
- reduces sensitivity to pain
- alleviates depression, anxiety, and insomnia
How exactly? One of the keys lies in the guided breathing practice central to yoga, which can help to create balance in the respiratory system and ease the nerves, especially in people grappling with serious health issues and questions about the future. Centered breathing can also help to ground one in the moment, taking the mind off of questions and worries about the future that can often lead to fear and depression during cancer treatment.
The “Happiness” Drug
In the physical sense, yoga can also be an ideal option for people at various levels of fitness and physical strength. While all poses may not be suitable or appropriate depending on the person, even gentle movements and poses can offer the benefits of physical exercise and the release of endorphins, which can help to boost mood and the sense of physical well being during and for a time after the activity has been completed.
Strength in Numbers
While yoga can be practiced alone and involves the practice of looking inward, it is also a communal activity with a built in support system and physical social network that can provide crucial moral support and encouragement through cancer treatment and recovery.
Traditional and alternative cancer treatment in Los Angeles
The oncologists at the Sarcoma Oncology Center specialize in offering patients a comprehensive, multi-dimensional approach to cancer treatment, which includes traditional treatments like chemotherapy, and alternative wellness care that also addresses the mind and body’s needs in addition to cancer therapy. To learn more, call 310-879-1106 to schedule a consultation today.
Next, read 15 Terms to Know After a Cancer Diagnosis