Yoga is a mind-body exercise that originated in India more than 4,000 years ago. A fundamental component of ayurveda (the traditional medicine system of India), yoga combines precise postures, deep breathing, and meditation in order to promote physical and emotional health.
The Health Benefits of Yoga
Research suggests that yoga may help ease symptoms associated with these health conditions:
Yoga has also been found to help promote weight maintenance and reduce heart disease risk.
Yoga For People With Cancer
Studies suggest that yoga may offer many benefits for people coping with cancer. Here's a look at some key findings.
1) Relieving Anxiety
Yoga may help ease anxiety in breast cancer outpatients, according to a 2009 study of 98 outpatients assigned to receive either yoga training or a brief therapy session prior to undergoing surgery. The study also showed that daily yoga sessions helped manage treatment-related side effects.
2) Reducing Stress
Breast cancer outpatients who practice yoga may have lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression than those who don't practice yoga, according to a study published in 2009.
3) Improving Quality of Life
In a pilot study published in 2006, researchers found that a seven-week yoga program significantly improved quality of life for cancer survivors. The researchers also observed a significant improvement in emotional function among the study's 20 yoga-practicing participants.
4) Enhancing Sleep Quality
A 2004 study of 39 lymphoma patients indicates that weekly yoga sessions may help reduce sleep disturbance, improve sleep quality, lengthen sleep duration, and reduce the use of sleep medications.
Is Yoga Safe For People With Cancer?
If you have cancer -- or any other chronic condition -- be sure to talk to your doctor about choosing a yoga program that's right for you. While yoga is generally considered safe, certain postures may be difficult to achieve or may induce muscle and/or joint damage if not executed properly.
It's important to note that practicing yoga is not known to slow or stop the growth of cancer.
Indian Board of Alternative Medicine
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