Symptoms of fatigue, sleeplessness and pain caused by cancer treatments can lower your overall quality of life. Yoga is not a treatment for cancer but as a therapy to alleviate related pain and stress related to treatments. It can be used as a complementary treatment to help improve the overall quality of life for cancer patients. Over the years studies have evaluated the use of yoga for cancer symptoms. Some of the benefits the studies have found include:
- Sleep and Insomnia: Yoga may help people with cancer who have difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep.
- Fatigue: In a few studies, yoga was associated with a significant decrease in the fatigue related to cancer and cancer treatments.
- Anxiety: Through its centering activities and breathing practices, yoga may reduce the anxiety associated with cancer.
- Loss of Appetite: In some cases, yoga may result in an improvement when loss of appetite accompanies a cancer diagnosis.
- Pain: As a complementary treatment—A treatment that is used along with conventional treatments such as medication—yoga may decrease pain associated with cancer.
- Stress: Yoga appears to have a role in stress reduction for people living with cancer. In a few small studies, yoga lowered blood cortisol in patients with breast cancer. Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted during stress and may play a role in the progression of cancer.
- Emotional Distress: Individuals living with cancer reported significantly less emotional distress related to their disease when they incorporated yoga into their daily routine.
(Sources: Current Treatment Options in Oncology. 2012. 11 (3-4):128-40; Cancer Nursing. 2011. 34 (1): 24-31; International Journal of Yoga. 2009. 2(2):73-9.)
On top of the listed benefits for cancer patients, yoga also includes physical benefits such as flexibility, strength, and muscle tone accompanied by mental benefits like mental calmness and body awareness. FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital offers yoga classes once a month for cancer patients and their loved ones at the Clara McLean House in Pinehurst, NC. For more information regarding these free classes please call (800) 213-3284.
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital’s FirstHealth Cancer Services offers treatment and support to patients and their loved ones in the Pinehurst, Raeford, Sanford, Lumberton, Laurinburg, Rockingham and Troy regions of North Carolina and beyond.