There aren't many alternative cancer treatment facts for yoga practice. Few studies exist to support a theory that yoga heals cancer patients. However, many cancer patients report a better quality of life if they perform yoga during treatment.
Preliminary Study Results
The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center conducted a pilot study in 2005 with 61 women recovering from breast cancer surgery and undergoing radiation treatment.
The study was primarily a psychological evaluation, but the initial results also revealed that the control group performing yoga experienced less fatigue and an enhanced ability to do daily tasks and walk a mile.
The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute conducted nine different yoga studies involving cancer patients and survivors. General results included better sleep, improvements in mood, reduced stress, and enhanced day-to-day capabilities. There is reason to believe that yoga will help cancer patients recover more quickly, but more study is necessary.
These studies focusing on alternative cancer treatment facts for yoga practice are pilot programs, but it's clear practicing yoga while undergoing cancer treatment improves your quality of life.
Understanding Alternative Cancer Treatment Facts for Yoga Practice
Instead of thinking of yoga as a replacement for cancer treatment, consider it an enhancement to whatever you and your healthcare professional decide as the best course of action.
Practitioners of yoga therapy believe that the an individual's immune system has the capacity to speed up healing through an integration of asanas, Pranayama or breathing exercises, and a healthy diet.
Hatha yoga is a wonderful style with which to start. The flow can be as easy as you can handle. Others suggest practicing Nidra yoga as a means to focus your intention on the area the cancer occupies and encourage healing.
The centering relaxation that yoga provides may also help many cancer patients achieve peace, as well as an acceptance that this is the journey their bodies are experiencing now, and circumstances will change. For this reason, people who practice yoga also incorporate some method of meditation into their daily routine.
Whether or not yoga helps with cancer pain depends on many factors:
- The individual
- The location, type, and progression of the cancer
- The type and stage of treatment
The general physical improvements that many practitioners report include:
- More quality sleep
- Quicker recovery time from chemotherapy treatment
- Improved energy to make it through the day
- Healthier appetite
All of these considerations may make it easier for some people to tolerate cancer pain.
Obviously, any factors that reduce stress in the patient and, for that matter, loved ones and caregivers, will enhance the mind, body, and spirit connection. This can only lead to a greater sense of wellbeing.
Testimonies from Cancer Patients
The following are a few stories from individuals who have experienced enhanced wellness while practicing yoga as they battled cancer:
- In this Yoga Journal article, people discuss coming to terms with their conditions and how yoga benefits them.
- A yoga instructor talks about how yoga helped her emotionally and physically.
- This yoga instructor believes that yoga strengthens individuals to face challenges.
Cancer and Yoga Retreats
There are a number of retreats that specialize in providing educational programs, yoga sessions, beneficial diets, and other wellness initiatives for cancer patients.
- Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, D.C., offers patients and caregivers an option of residential or daylong retreats.
- Ashrams of the Sivananda has locations around the world featuring yoga therapy and Ayurveda applications.
- Shambahala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, is rooted in Buddhist teachings of health and wellness, and an annual retreat for women touched by cancer.
Consult Your Practitioner
New information on alternative cancer treatment facts for yoga practice is documented in medical journals, so partner with your health practitioner to seek out possibilities. In the meantime, treat yourself to a new yoga DVD and start a routine. Even a few minutes a day may make a difference in your overall wellbeing.