Yoga is one of the more popular complementary treatments for cancer. Patients report that doing yoga helps them feel more peaceful and balanced. As a slow method of exercise, yoga is a great way to steady the mind and body during and after cancer treatments.
The Journey of Being Diagnosed with Cancer
The journey that takes place after a cancer diagnosis is both physical and emotional. Many people report feeling the following stages:
- Fear and uncertainty
- Stress and anxiety
For some people, these feelings go back and forth from day to day, and sometimes people go through them one by one. It's common to ask questions like why and how. This is especially true of people who get cancer despite living a healthy lifestyle. However, common cancers like breast and prostate cancer can happen to nearly anyone. Those who do get a lifestyle cancer, like lung cancer from smoking, may feel guilty and regretful that they didn't stop the detrimental behavior sooner.
Far more aggressive cancers may come to many as a shock as they can be more difficult to recognize and diagnose, much like mesothelioma. Not everyone who is diagnosed with this deadly cancer even realizes that they were living with it. Mesothelioma is the end result of exposure to materials or products containing asbestos, a fiber that enters the lung and develops into cancer. Once treatment starts after the cancer diagnosis, the experience quickly takes a strong physical toll. It's important for patients to keep up their strength through this stage.
Treatment and Nutrition
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are known for being very hard on the body. They cause a number of uncomfortable side effects, including nausea, loss of appetite, dehydration, mouth sores, weakness and more. One of the most important things is to get good nutrition during this time. Proper nutrition helps cancer patients keep up their strength, maintain body weight and even decrease side effects. However, nutritional support can be hard when food is difficult to eat or keep down. The following are some ideas on what to eat and avoid during treatment:
- Avoid spicy food and citrus
- Use a plant-based diet for more antioxidants and easier to digest food
- Drink dietary supplements
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid red meat and dairy
- Avoid salt and sugar
- Eat several small meals instead of a few large ones
- Minimize alcohol
Sometimes vitamin supplements are recommended for cancer patients as well.
How Yoga Classes Can Help
Yoga is a common supplementary therapy for cancer patients. It provides light to moderate exercise and is often reported to relieve stress and facilitate mental balance. According to studies in psychology, the human brain naturally wanders. People constantly think about the past, future and present. For cancer patients, this can be a very stressful thing as they wonder what their future will be like and if they will survive. Yoga and meditation help to shift this natural wandering into something more calm and balanced. Patients are able to focus on breathing and steadily taking different postures. An intense focus is needed in order to practice yoga properly. Patients usually find that this takes their mind away from thinking about cancer and relieves stress. Results of regular yoga practice often include:
- Reduction in emotional stress responses
- Physical relaxation and relief of muscle pain and tension
- A more peaceful state of mind
Seeing a Wellness Professional
The importance of mind-body balance for those with cancer cannot be overstated. Along with traditional cancer treatments, patients should pursue proper nutrition, exercise, counseling and any other wellness therapy that they find helpful. Some common and recommended wellness therapies include:
- Integrative nutrition
Consulting a wellness professional is a good way to set up a customized plan for therapy during and after treatment.
The entire cancer experience is an intensely trying time for most people. It's important to seek a whole body and mind approach to dealing with the symptoms and side effects during and after treatment.
Article Written By Writer: Jonas Franklin - Oct 3, 2019