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Yoga Benefits for Cancer Patients

By DMG Integrated Oncology Program

The practice of yoga began over 5,000 years ago in India as a whole body philosophy focusing on breathing, stretching, posture and meditation. The idea is to create a union between the mind, body, and spirit that can lead to improved energy, less stress, greater mobility and decreased anxiety. There are studies that suggest that yoga can improve the overall quality of life in cancer survivors or individuals with breast cancer. Research has shown that yoga may help breast cancer patients by:

  • Improving physical function
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve quality of life

A research study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center showed that a group of women who enrolled in a 1-hour yoga session 3 days a week for 6 weeks during radiation treatment had less fatigue, better general health and were better able to carry out their daily activities. This group also had lower cortisol levels—a hormone that is produced in response to stress. Yoga may be an effective way for cancer patients to naturally cope with stress, anxiety, depression and allow them to relax. In addition to decreasing stress levels, yoga can also improve muscle strength, flexibility, circulation and balance.

Yoga alone cannot cure or treat cancer, but it could be a step in the right direction for overall health management. Before beginning yoga, talk with your doctor about whether or not yoga is an appropriate form of exercise for you. Check out different types of yoga classes, as the range can vary from basic stretching to intense cardio exercise. Select the class appropriate for your level and health concerns, and always talk with the instructor if you are having difficulty with certain poses. Many times the instructor can offer modifications to help you achieve the best results.

DMG offers weekly yoga classes in partnership with the Living Well Cancer Resource Center. Learn more by calling 630-262-1111 today. 


Topics and Subtopics: Cancer & Fitness & Exercise

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