At present, there is no evidence that yoga can treat cancer itself. Research indicates that yoga can be helpful in helping to alleviate high blood pressure and improve heart rate, breathing, metabolism and body temperature. Yoga can improve strength, mobility, bone health, cardiovascular health, breathing pattern and other physiological systems, and it can reduce pain. On a mental level, yoga can increase well-being, reduce stress, help relieve pain, and provide you with a sense of relaxation. People who practice yoga believe that this therapy helps to improve their quality of life.
Research has found that yoga can help people with cancer alleviate anxiety and depression. Yoga has also been shown to increase the feeling of spiritual well-being.
Some research has shown that yoga can eventually reduce fatigue or sleep disorders.
Side effects and risks of yoga
If you are thinking of trying yoga or undertaking any form of exercise involving movements of the joints and muscles you are not used to, talk to your health care team. Make sure your yoga instructor is aware of your cancer diagnosis and any physical limitations you have. Your instructor should be able to show you how to adopt poses and how to change poses safely to meet your needs.
The side effects of yoga are rare, but yoga injuries are becoming more common, especially in people who have not had an individual assessment based on their needs and abilities. Too much stretching of the joints and ligaments can cause injury. It is best to start slowly, to know your limits, not to rekindle past pain or discomfort, and to ask the yoga instructor any questions you have before classes start.
Some yoga poses that require physical effort may not be indicated if you have cancer that has spread to bone (bone metastases) and you are at risk for fractures. However, the methods of gentle breathing and meditation would likely be appropriate. If necessary, consult your health care team.
If you are still in the process of treating cancer or if you have lymphedema , you should not practice hot yoga (bikram), a very intense yoga variant that takes place in an overheated room (at least 40 ° C).
Find a Yoga Teacher, Yogatherapist or Medical Yogatherapist
The Canadian Yoga Alliance sets the standards of training for students and teachers of general yoga. The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) sets standards for the training of yogotherapists. A medical yogatherapist is a health professional who has received training in therapeutic yoga. Ask the yoga teacher or yogatherapist if they have received training for people with cancer and if they have experience in this type of treatment.