There has been some kind of electricity in the air these past weeks where I am because whatever I’ve been thinking about, things start manifesting! Magical like that. Twice over the last week, I heard knews of some sort of cancer someone is going thru out there and then voila, I get an email from a reader, Krista Peterson, who offered to share an article on this blog about guess what? Yoga for Cancer.
I personally know several people who have either surrendered to the battle with cancer, is in remission or have completely healed. Although I have never experienced teaching yoga to a cancer patient, I imagine it to be no different than teaching to any other student. The common thread that heals us all is our mind, body, and breath connection.
Guest Post from Krista Peterson on “Relieving Cancer Symptoms Through Yoga”
Once the difficult decision has been made about what method of treatment would be best to treat a patient’s cancer, the more challenging question is how can you help the patients deal with the taxing side-effects of treatment?
This issue can be seen as a challenging one for physicians because, there are very few scientific studies relating to effective ways of treating the side effects. Assisting complications like sleep deprivation and fatigue are vital toward helping patients maintain their normal lifestyle, and could potentially even encourage them onto the path of recovery.
More recently, studies have shown yoga to be beneficial in treatment of leukemia and cancer, including the rare cancer caused from asbestos exposure known as mesothelioma. While yoga cannot cure the disease, stretching and breathing techniques can be used to help relieve muscle pains and fatigue, and improve sleep, naturally leading to a decrease in the need for sleep aids. With these symptoms being an incredible burden on cancer sufferers, yoga can be an invaluable resource in complementary treatment.
Yoga can not only decrease the chances of cancer emerging, but also practitioners of yoga are much more likely to be diagnosed sooner. Yoga creates a bond with both the mind and body, and those who are more sensitive and in tune with this sense are more likely to notice changes like unexplained fatigue and unexplained weight loss, which are symptoms of colon cancer, and shortness of breath, one of the primary symptoms of mesothelioma.
It can be difficult for patients receiving chemo, and radiation therapy, to really get back to working out full force. These treatments often times leave patients bedridden and sap the energy from their bodies. It is often recommended they start with lower intensity workouts then what they’re used to, and progress much slower through the exercise routine.
With cancer patients needing a wealth of rest and relaxation, as well as the physical demands of the disease, yoga is quickly becoming a popular complementary aid in relief of cancer symptoms.
If you do a google on ‘yoga for cancer’ I am happy to see my teacher friend, Lorien show up in top results. She adds, “yoga provides a method for cancer patients to actively participate in the improvement of their well being without interfering with their treatment. This sense of empowerment comes at the right time, because a cancer diagnosis can often bring about a feeling of hopelessness. That is my focus when I work with cancer patients, families and even medical professionals.”
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. If you would like to connect with her, please send me an email and I will get you hooked up.
Lorien Neargarder has taught yoga since 2004 and works privately with clients with cancer, as well as teaching group classes for the Stanford Cancer Support Center and for Breathe’s Cancer Support Program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and teaching certifications in Hatha Yoga and Therapeutic Yoga. Connect with Lorien at http://www.yogabylorien.com