Benefits of Yoga

The practice of yoga combines poses, breathing techniques, meditation, and maintains its own distinct philosophy. Yoga is intended to establish a balance of the mind, body, and spirit, resulting in relaxation. Yoga’s origins stem from ancient Indian philosophy, with the earliest written descriptions of the practice appearing in Sanskrit. Yoga is derived from the word “yuj,” meaning union, and it is believed that it could have been put into practice as long as 5,000 years ago. Modern science has endorsed its use in assisting in symptomatic relief of cancer and other chronic diseases. It is a practice endorsed by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Overall, yoga can increase relaxation and physical fitness, with some cancer treatment centers providing yoga classes in addition to standard medical treatments. Due to the benefits of relaxation and physical improvement, yoga may be considered a complementary treatment. Currently, more than 100 different types of yoga are practiced in the United States alone. Most of these practices are based on hatha yoga. Hatha classes usually include gentle stretches, meditation, and restorative poses. Sometimes a mantra, a meaningful word or phrase, is used to focus the mind.
Yoga could assist patients diagnosed with cancers such as mesothelioma as a complementary treatment. Benefits of yoga stem from the practice’s concentration on ethical standards, dietary choices, physical movements, and meditation. Implementing these practices into daily life could lead to an overall improved sense of well being in those suffering from chronic conditions, cancers, and illnesses. Yoga can be practiced at home or with teachers. Books and videos are available, and regimens can be found on television and the internet. In addition to relaxing the nervous system and improving mood, research indicates that it can lower blood pressure and heart rate, increase metabolism, affect brain waves, and strengthen the immune system. The National Institute of Health links the practice of yoga to symptom relief in: cancer, asthma, diabetes, drug addiction, high blood pressure, heart disease, and migraine headaches. When used with diet and exercise, it may reduce cholesterol levels. Randomized clinical trials also show that yoga can help to reduce arthritis pain and to relieve depression and anxiety.

Mesothelioma and Yoga

Recent studies point to yoga as a healthy addition to medical treatments in some cancer survivors. Through achieving the balance found in yoga, a better quality of life can be established. Those diagnosed with mesothelioma may find this especially supportive as they are generally diagnosed in the later stages of cancer. This is due to the long latency periods associated with mesothelioma. Often, the cancer lays dormant, not exhibiting first symptoms until decades after it has formed. Late stage diagnosis is sometimes associated more with palliative care rather than curative. Complementary therapies, such as yoga, used in conjunction with standard medical treatments, could aid in patient well-being.

American Cancer Society

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine