Yoga seems to be growing in popularity across the country among people in all states of health, meaning Yoga can be valuable not only for healthy people but also cancer patients, like those with mesothelioma cancer, as well. For patients battling a difficult cancer, Yoga is beginning to be integrated in palliative treatment regimens in conjunction with traditional chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatments. Yoga cannot cure a disease, but can be extremely beneficial for patients experiencing discomfort or pain. Less pain and discomfort often means more time with family and loved ones, making these therapies extremely helpful.
What is Yoga? The practice originated in India but is very different than the practices we see today in fitness centers and other health centers. In today's practice, the ultimate emphasis is placed upon certain body positions or postures, known as asanas and is usually regarded as a form of exercise. In its most literal of terms the word Yoga means "union," which suggests a oneness or unity of mind, soul, and body. Through careful rejection of distractions and posturing of the body, it is believed that this can be attained. In today's culture, these beliefs are accepted with different levels of participation. However, very few will not agree that Yoga has many complementary clinical benefits.
Yoga emphasizes a great deal of self reflection and fitness, and is therefore valuable to patients of difficult cancers, such as mesothelioma. Maintaining a healthy body and mind is essential for battling any disease, but is particularly important for cancer patients, whose body is debilitated by chemotherapy and other types of treatment. Among Yoga's more important benefits is its ability to induce relaxation, which is essential for patients battling anxiety and stress.
Like many alternative treatments, results from Yoga will vary from patient to patient. Patients are urged to try many alternative therapies and find their personal comfort level. However, it is not advisable for any patient of any illness to begin complementary therapies without first consulting a doctor. These therapies can be extremely beneficial but the more traditional therapy's goals must be kept in mind so that they are not affected. Patients must be in fairly good physical health to begin Yoga and should verify this with their personal physician.
Tai Chi is another type of holistic movement practice with Eastern origins that has been utilized by cancer patients. Side effects of chemotherapy can include dramatic weight loss and neuropathy (a loss of sensation in the limbs extremities), which can greatly affect balance. Tai chi, which can be done with a physical therapist or other expert, can assist patients in regaining balance and sensation lost during traditional cancer treatments. While Tai chi is typically performed while standing, routines can easily be adjusted for patients who are unable to stand or who are sitting. Many patients have announced marked improvement in overall condition as a result of integrating Tai chi into physical therapy and holistic cancer treatment regimens.
American Cancer Society - Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Yoga)