The evidence keeps mounting and counting. Yoga is a proven, safe, adjunct-therapy for cancer. All types of cancer. Including Mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. It affects the thin, protective membrane surrounding the lungs, heart and abdominal cavity. An estimated 3,000 cases annually are diagnosed in the United States, and the majority of those are traced to an occupational exposure.
The ancient practice of yoga has recently become more popular as an alternative therapy for cancer. Patients battling malignancies such as mesothelioma can turn to the practice to help relieve their symptoms naturally, or to help clear their mind from worries about their cancer.
Unlike aggressive traditional therapies, yoga is intended to be palliative. It focuses more on improving a patient’s quality of life than curing the cancer.
Yoga can help reduce both the frequency and intensity of common mesothelioma symptoms, including:
• Mild depression
• Chemotherapy-induced nausea or constipation
Cardiopulmonary stress symptoms – which often overlap with the general symptoms of mesothelioma – can also be relieved by yoga. These symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath. Chest openers, or poses designed to release tension in the shoulders and upper back, are most effective at relieving these symptoms.
While mesothelioma symptoms can be managed through pharmaceuticals or traditional palliative therapies, yoga is a much gentler, less toxic way to manage them. When practiced correctly, yoga has little to no potential to cause any side effects. While athletic injuries can occur during yoga, mesothelioma patients can choose an easier style – such as gentle yoga – to ensure a less demanding practice.
Studies of Yoga as a Cancer Treatment
In one study, a group of cancer patients who followed a yoga plan reported fewer symptoms one week after the study than the group who did not take part in the yoga classes. Three months after the study, the group of yoga practitioners also revealed lower levels of cancer-related distress.
In a different study, 63 percent of cancer patients who were assigned to a yoga practice decided that the program was useful in relieving their symptoms. While a yoga practice should be consistent, mesothelioma patients do not need to practice every day – 70 percent of the patients in the study practiced only once per week.
Source: Bower, J, et al. “Yoga for Cancer Patients and Survivors.” Cancer Control. 12.3 (2005)
Author bio: Faith Franz is a writer for the Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in whole-body health and medical research to educate the mesothelioma community about the newest developments in cancer care.
Thank you Faith for your enlightening article and your passion for raising awareness on Mesothelioma.