Most people are aware that yoga helps you lead a healthy life. But what many people do not know is that researches have recently found evidence to suggest that yoga helps reduce inflammation in breast cancer survivors. This breakthrough evidence has triggered a spark of interest, with doctors and cancer research specialists alike scrutinizing what makes yoga so effective and how we can gain the most from it.
Ohio State University Research
Researchers from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Centre have concluded that yoga helps combat fatigue—a common problem faced by patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Thus by combating the main problem, it helps reduce inflammation.
A majority of breast cancer survivors report having trouble sleeping. This in turn leads to fatigue, which aggravates inflammation. It needs to be noted that inflammation is related to chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. So the whole process is like a series of triggers, where one condition or symptom leads to many different complications. Yoga, by controlling fatigue, effectively stops this vicious cycle from going full circle.
The Research Process and Its Conclusions
In the course of the research, around two hundred cancer survivors were split into two groups. One group received yoga lessons and were encouraged to practice yoga at home. When examined after about three months, the group that practiced yoga displayed less fatigue and were more energetic than their non-yoga practising counterparts.
There are conclusive lab reports to back the theory that yoga helps reduce inflammation in breast cancer survivors. After three months of practising yoga, when proteins in the blood that are markers for inflammation were examined, there was a ten to fifteen percent reduction in the markers.
It was also noted that the longer the survivors practised yoga, the greater their relief from fatigue and the lower their inflammation. How frequently they practised also had an impact on their recovery speed.
The research did not provide any substantial proof that it was exclusively yoga that helped reduce inflammation and that such results cannot be achieved with just any form of exercise. But it is safe to assume that yoga, which focuses on the mind and the body, is the only activity that can achieve such impressive results. Also survivors are too fragile to engage in any strenuous exercises. So yoga is the ideal choice for breast cancer survivors. Researches were also able to conclude that yoga helped reduce the possibility of the cancer returning.
Researchers are now studying yoga and its effect on people with other health issues who also suffer from fatigue and inflammation as a result.
How Exactly Does Yoga Help The Survivors?
It works on two different levels. On the biological level—it helps eliminate the toxins accumulated in the body as a result of chemotherapy; it increases blood flow, helps balance the glands and improves the lymphatic flow in the body. On the mind level, it relieves tension and anxiety and provides an overall sense of well being. When your stress levels reduce, your body automatically starts functioning better.
Yoga Poses That Highly Benefit Breast Cancer Survivors
1. Gomukhasana: Teaches elevation, external rotation, and internal rotation of the arms.
2. Savasana: Helps focus the mind and improves concentration.
3. Supta baddha konasana: Helps release tension and lift the spirits.
4. Paschima Namaskarasana: Teaches internal rotation of the arm bone.
5. Garudasana: Helps in opening the shoulder blades.
Yoga as a Way of Life
With the hopeful results of the Ohio State University Research, yoga will be prescribed as cancer therapy by medical practitioners. While cancer treatments have evolved to be more effective over the years, the devastating side effects of chemotherapy and radiation were a constant source of concern. With such new researches throwing light on the healing benefits of yoga, we can hope that the future will be more promising. With the full potential of yoga still not under our grasp, we can only suspect that yoga has much more to offer both in terms of elevated health and the balance of the mind and spirit.
Make yoga an integral part of your life as opposed to looking at it as a means to an end. Yoga is a slow process that requires a lot of patience and complete involvement. Always take baby steps and do not push yourself too hard or you’ll end up doing more harm than good.
Please remember that it is always adviced to check with your doctor and practice yoga under strict guidance when in such medical conditions
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