One of the side effects that patients undergoing treatment for cancer often notice is fatigue. Doctors that study fatigue related to cancer treatment have found that the interventions that are prescribed fall into three categories. The first is treatment of a physiological problem like anemia, the second is drugs to stimulate the patient such as amphetamines. The third, and most successful is to suggest an exercise program such as yoga. Research is showing that yoga can help with pain and fatigue for patients undergoing cancer treatments. Used in conjunction with standard medical therapy, yoga is included as the third most popular complementary treatment used in the United States.
Yoga is an ancient practice of at least 5000 years, there are more than 100 different forms of yoga varying from fast paced to relaxing. The practice of yoga can help increase strength, endurance, and flexibility. Hatha is the form of yoga that most people think of when they think of yoga. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuji,” meaning yoke or union. Yoga is an ancient practice that brings together mind and body. One of the premises being that mental and physical health are not just closely tied together they are equivalent. For many yoga is a low risk, high yield approach to improving overall health. Yoga has been described as a total mind -body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses called asanas, with breathing exercises known as pranayama, and meditation or relaxing.
The past few years have shown an increase in the number of people who practice yoga. It is estimated that approximately 7.5% of U.S. adults have tried yoga at least once- nearly 4% in the previous year. A survey conducted by Yoga Alliance and The Yoga Journal, the results noted in an article in Forbes March 15,2016, stated yoga is being practiced by 37 million people in the United States up from 20 million, 3 years ago. Of that number 72% are women and 28% are men. The coasts of the United States are where yoga is most popular rather than in the middle of the country. One study identified some of the reasons people are trying yoga is 61% for flexibility, 56% stress relief, 49% general fitness, 49% overall health, 44% physical fitness, 86% experience a strong sense of mental clarity and 90% yoga is a form of meditation.
What are some of the effects of yoga on your health?
– Yoga can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful with both anxiety and depression.
– University of Utah study showed that people that have a poorly regulated response to stress are also more sensitive to pain.
– Techniques such as yoga, can help a person regulate their stress and pain responses.
– Can decrease the levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone- helps lower levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression
– Studies have shown that practicing yoga can lead to a decrease in symptoms of anxiety
– May reduce inflammatory markers in the body and help prevent pro-inflammatory diseases
– Could improve heart health- alone or with other therapies
– Improves quality of life
– Fights depression by decreasing symptoms of depression by influencing the production of stress hormones
– Reduce chronic pain increasers the secretion of melatonin a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness
– Improves balance and mobility in older adults
– Yoga may stimulate the vagus nerve and reduce migraine intensity and frequency- alone or with conventional therapy
– Mindful eating- yoga encourages mindfulness which may be used to help promote mindful eating and healthy eating habits
Yoga has many health benefits, is affordable, and open to people of all ages. It may help in your journey with mesothelioma.