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Wellicious Guest Post by Jillian McKee "Yoga: Offering Many Benefits to Cancer Patients"

We are proud to present Jillian McKee's article about the effect of yoga on cancer patients and how they benefit by engaging in the activity. If you would like to contact Jillian, please e-mail us.

Cancer patients face an amazing amount of stress in their daily lives. Relaxing activities, such as meditation and yoga, help calm the spirit and contribute to an overall feeling of physical and emotional wellness. The patient's ability to manage and handle symptoms of the cancer and those associated with traditional treatment can often directly influence the overall effectiveness of their treatment program. Yoga has aided many in easing these symptoms and is thereby growing in popularity and credibility among the cancer treatment establishment.

Scientists have proven that high amounts of stress and anxiety weaken the immune system. Even way back in 1962, a study published in the journal "Cancer Research" detailed the benefits of stress reduction on lab animals stricken with cancer. Evidence has continued to mount in the 50 years since the study. A 1989 study by Stanford University found that women with metastatic breast cancer that engaged in a support group lived longer than those that didn't. The same is likely true for people afflicted with other cancers, including aggressive malignancies like mesothelioma. Even the American Cancer Society states that while yoga won't cure cancer, engaging in yoga may "reduce levels of stress and bring about feelings of relaxation and well-being...[and] enhance quality of life for some patients with cancer."

A 2004 study involving a randomized controlled trial of Tibetan yoga and cancer patients with stage I-IV lymphoma found that the participants reported significant improvements in sleep quality after engaging in yoga. Paul Kraus, author of the book "Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers: A Patient's Guide," says that regular exercise is important, even for people with cancer. He goes on to state that both tai chi and yoga are very healing. While none of these complementary therapies possesses the ability to cure the disease or extend mesothelioma life expectancy alone, they can help the patient be better equipped to fight the disease.

Yoga is a meditative activity that clears the mind and allows the patient to focus on healing. Envisioning a state of wellness helps individuals continue to strive towards that goal. Practicing yoga in a supportive group environment, followed up with additional yoga sessions at home, appears to have significant benefits for those afflicted with this difficult disease.

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