Yoga Health Foundation

Guest Post – Yoga

Chemotherapy patients often complain of side effects such as nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, fatigue, fluid retention, and sexual problems. Yoga is a calming and healing practice that can often become a type of therapy for men and women undergoing therapy, and can sometimes relieve or alleviate the symptoms of cancer treatment.

One of the biggest benefits of yoga while undergoing chemotherapy is learning the techniques associated with pranayama, or breathing work. The deep breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth is the ideal way to focus and bring calm to the cancer patient.

Pranayama is a way to meditate, and can result in a huge improvement of mood and mental well being. Although the physical acts of yoga are hugely beneficial, the act of calm and focused breathing can often bring with it the most noticeable changes in spirit.

By using the muscles of the body through the practice of yoga in such moves as the warrior pose and eagle, they are less likely to shrink in size and strength. An often complained of side effect from breast cancer, mesothelioma that is triggered from asbestos exposure, and prostate cancer sufferers, is that while undergoing treatment, they become frail and weak. Strengthening the muscles with controlled poses can prevent that weakness, and bring strength to the body even in times of suffering.

A shoulder stand is a move beloved by many participants of yoga because it can stimulate the thyroid gland, and often encourages the digestive system to function in a healthier way. This is truly important for those undergoing chemotherapy treatments, as constipation and nausea are common problems. With a better functioning digestive system, the appetite may also increase.

Fluid retention is also a common complaint among cancer patients, and one that can be alleviated through repetitive and cardiovascular movements, especially at higher temperatures. Combinations of swan dives and downward dogs can facilitate this. Allowing the body to sweat slightly may reduce fluid retention, and can also encourage the participant to consume more water throughout the practice.

For more of my yoga-related writing, please read my blog