Monday, May 9, 2011

Complementary Success ~ Yoga and Cancer

The article below was written by Krista Peterson, a recent college graduate who has a strong interest in spreading awareness of such issues as cancer and chronic illness.

More and more people are seemingly taking up yoga these days. The benefits from an exercising and physical health standpoint are second to none. The benefits of yoga are also being taken advantage of by patients of cancer and other terminal illnesses. While yoga may not cure diseases, it’s commonly being used as a complementary option in the therapy process.

Yoga’s major help to these patients often involves its ability to have an impact on lessening the side effects of traditional treatment therapies. A therapy process like chemo can be long and exhausting, while often times bringing on bouts of nausea and diarrhea. Yoga can help to reduce the pain and exhaustion that comes along with chemo and has often been shown to reduce nausea as well.

Yoga’s breathing and stretching exercises have been shown to improve sleep patterns and cut down on the dependency on sedatives. Yoga allows these patients to return to something that may have been common in their everyday lives. A 2010 study by the American Society of Clinical Oncology tested over 400 participants who all showed great benefits from routine yoga time added onto their normal treatment schedule.

Even though evidence has mounted toward the success of yoga as a complementary therapy option, health insurance and government programs still don’t provide financial support for patients looking to take part. Continued research looking for scientific evidence is being invested to further the push towards some kind of support system, even if it’s small at first.

Yoga’s effect has been felt and used by myriad patients with diabetes, arthritis, leukemia, mesothelioma and other cancer types. It has been a help to arthritis patients with their flexibility and total range of motion. Overall it can provide a time of peace that is rare in treatment. This time of tranquility and peace can often be extremely valuable. For some patients, this time of peace can play an extra important role. Because there is no mesothelioma cure, these patients often value yoga as a time to reflect, find peace of mind, relax, and experience tranquility in some of the closing stages of their lives.

The full impact of yoga on terminal illness patients has yet to be felt. Increased studies and research will hopefully signal more support and access to yoga for patients of all diseases. Given its ability to have a positive effect on both the physical and mental scale, yoga is certain to continue to gain popularity as a complementary treatment.

Krista's Bio: Krista Peterson is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer. As a health and safety advocate, she shares a strong passion for the wellness of others in her community. Krista has been practicing yoga for 3 years and loves to encourage others to do so as well. Through her writings, she helps to spread awareness of such issues as cancer and chronic illness and how they can be treated. Contact her at krista.peterson925 (at) gmail (dot) com.