Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Yoga Techniques Help Chemotherapy

restorative yoga teacher training course
By Faye Martins

Chemotherapy (chemo) is an intensive medical procedure that is usually recommended by oncologists for their patients to prevent the growth or effects of different forms of cancer. During the process of chemotherapy it is very important that patients remain as physically fit and mentally alert as possible. Medical evidence supports the idea that the more chemo patients fight to maintain their health, the better the outcome of their treatment is.

Chemo weakens the body and the mind. As patients undergo their chemo routines, they lose weight and muscle tone. Steroids are given to patients to compensate for the negative effects of chemo. Anti nausea drugs are given, but they also cause constipation. These patients suffer from depression as well, while they are terminated by their employers and medical bills fill their mail boxes. Conventional medicine provides treatment in the form of pharmaceuticals. While these prescriptions alleviate the symptoms, they do not provide lasting results.

Doctors are warming up to the idea of using the benefits of yogic medicine as a means of restoring chemo patients to good health. Yogic science has the dual benefit of strengthening both the body and the mind. Chemotherapy patients need support in both of these vital areas.

Since chemotherapy drains the body, patients are often in no position to go through intensive physical exercise regimes. Restorative and therapeutic yoga training allows for low intensity workouts that focus on every muscle group in the body. What’s more, even someone who is restricted to a hospital bed can perform these exercises. As the body goes stronger, the intensity of restorative asana practice can be gradually increased, always at a level the patient can comfortably cope with.

In order to restore cognitive function during and after chemotherapy, psychotherapy and mental exercises are recommended. In these cases, a therapist works closely with a patient, measuring their progress and making adjustments accordingly. Yogic therapy works in a similar way. As yoga training demands ever-increasing levels of concentration, even the most basic of yogic positions trains the mind to focus intently on one goal. As chemo patients learn to hold their focus, their mental alertness increases steadily.

Depression is one of the most pernicious effects of chemotherapy. Patients undergoing radical changes to their bodies often find themselves unable to cope with these sudden changes. Yogic methodology enables patients to think critically and pragmatically about their experiences, and to develop a plan of action.

Very few medical therapies are as intimately intensive as that of chemotherapy. Chemo patients must deal with hourly assaults on their bodies as well as their spirits. Yogic practices are like nothing else and offer patients a strong methodology of confronting the effects of chemotherapy.

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