“You have cancer.” About half of all men and one-third of all women in the United States will hear those words in their lifetime. That’s 40 percent of the population and it leaves them numb with fear and anxiety. Cancer is the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide.
Cancer is a broad term for a class of diseases characterized by abnormal cells that grow and invade the healthy cells in the body. Cancer harms the body when altered cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumours. Tumours can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous, and circulatory system, and they can release hormones that alter body function.
Cancer changes people’s lives. The treatment stretches over a long period and our normal life, career and finances go for a toss. Depression, anxiety, and fear are common. Changes in the body affect self-esteem and confidence. Physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, extreme tiredness, as well as the fear of impending death, all lead to emotional distress.
To beat cancer, we need to be mentally tough, calm and composed. And this is where Yoga can be beneficial to the cancer patients in a big way. Though there is no scientific evidence to prove that yoga can cure or prevent any type of cancer, it is a complimentary therapy that helps patients to relax and cope with stress, anxiety and depression in a much better manner.
Yoga is a whole body philosophy that involves:
- stretching exercises
These create a harmony between your mind, body and spirit. The exercises combined with breathing improve your oxygen and blood supply. In turn, this helps your circulation and breathing, which promotes general good health.
An increasing body of research shows that yoga can help prevent cancer, and help cancer patients and survivors manage risk and side effects after treatment. Yoga brings balance and alignment to all body parts and systems: muscles, bones, organs, and the mind. It’s a holistic path to wellness that focuses on interconnection. Here are five reasons why yoga should be in everyone’s cancer-prevention and/or cancer-recovery plan.
1. Yoga strengthens the immune system.
2. Yoga detoxifies the body
3. Yoga builds bones.
4. Yoga reduces stress
5. Yoga helps in weight management.
Obesity is a key, if not the largest, indicator of both cancer incidence and recurrence.
In March 2010 a review of studies into yoga for patients with cancer was published.
It found that yoga could help to reduce anxiety, depression, tiredness and stress for some patients. It improved the quality of sleep. Some patients said that it helped them to move around more quickly and easily after surgery. The authors of the study said that overall yoga may be associated with some positive effects on psychological well being for people with cancer.
Thus yoga is a science that combines all the movements that we need for physical health with the breathing and meditation techniques that ensure better mental focus and peace of mind. It readies us to cope with cancer in a much better manner. It teaches mankind to live in harmony with himself as well as the external environment to which we are subjected to.
About the author
TM Namrata Pandey, a senior toastmaster at Inner Universe toastmasters club, Abu Dhabi holding a Masters in Environmental Science, From Banaras Hindu University , Varanasi.
She Worked for 18 years in All India Radio and Doordarshan in India.
She won a prize for this article from the Indian embassy- UAE, on the international day of yoga 2017 .