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Yoga is conscious training for the state of spiritual insight and tranquility which is achieved through action, knowledge and devotion. It combines breathing techniques, physical postures and meditation. It is an ancient science for more than 5000 yrs. ‘American Society of Clinical Oncology’ suggests that yoga has positive effect on sleep, overall health and stamina in cancer patients. A research conducted in University of Alberta found that practicing Ayengar Yoga for 10 weeks showed beneficial effects in breast cancer patients. Patients informed improved stress and anxiety levels and reduced depression.
Having cancer is very painful journey and the thought of living life with it makes more stressful. Various doctors and study centers are learning about effect of yoga practice during cancer treatment. There are following areas where one can seek improvement while leading life with cancer.
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Many studies have shown positive effect of yoga on breast cancer, but recently lung cancer and colorectal cancers are also in focus. Patients undergoing chemo therapy relieve fatigue with the help of two sessions of yoga per week. Meditation helps in relieving stress and negativity by relaxing mind and body.
Insomnia or sleepless night is another concern in cancer patients. Practicing yoga and pranayam for 5-7 weeks results in improved sleep. Constant worries and pressure increases stress level and hormonal secretion such as cortisol and cytokine production. This can also exacerbate the tumor growth. Indian researchers have found that practicing yoga decreases salivary cortisol in stage 2 and 3 in breast cancer patients.
American cancer society has shown improved effect of yoga on immunity. Studies suggest that stress contributes to suppressed immunity and increased infections in diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Stress reduction helps in disease management and thus yoga and meditation plays supporting role.
Professionals suggest that Hath Yoga or Nidra Yoga focus healing effect in cancer patients. Meditation along with yoga helps in maintaining tranquility in daily life. These practices will also help in preventing cancer as helps in quitting smoking, relieving stress, improved mood, positive thinking, balanced hormonal activity etc.
The effect of treatment and yoga on cancer patients depend on type and stage of the treatment, location and progression of the disease. Overall studies suggest the improvement in day to day life with increased stamina to walk a mile more in cancer patients.