Learn How Yoga Offers Relief From Cancer-Related Fatigue

Breast Cancer Yoga Pose

Angela Strynkowski, E-RYT 500 Happily Doing “Legs Over Bolster” Yoga Pose

Author: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500, Posted By: Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is very common. Fatigue can often be confused with tiredness, but there are differences between the two conditions. For one, tiredness happens to everyone, especially after certain activities or chemo – but  fatigue is less common and an excessive whole-body tiredness that is not relieved with sleep.   This debilitating condition can impact your quality of life.  It can be acute (lasting a month or less) or chronic (lasting from one month to six months or longer). The precise reason for this intensive tiredness is unknown, but practitioners believe it may be related to the process of cancer itself or chemotherapies and radiation treatments. (CRF) is one of the most common side effects of cancer and its associated treatments. Usually, it comes on suddenly, and does not result from activity or exertion. It is often described as “paralyzing.” It may continue even after treatment is complete.

If you’re a cancer survivor and feeling tired or even worse, even long after treatment, you are not alone. But you can do something about it.

About one-third of breast cancer survivors experience CRF for anywhere from a year to several years post-treatment. While there’s no conventional therapy to resolve it, studies are increasingly showing yoga can help.  Patients with different cancers report relief with exercise, specifically yoga.

Yoga designed especially for breast cancer survivors is helping women to catch a second wind.

In fact, a recent UCLA study found that three months after beginning this practice, women with post-treatment fatigue were still feeling more invigorated than before they began the exercise program. Not only do women become more energized, but they see improvement in mood and sleep; they are typically more relaxed, more aware, and more accepting of what life brings to them. All these attributes are so critical as we work toward continued mental and physical well being, and ultimately, our healing.

How does Breast Cancer Yoga target physical and emotional fatigue?

Breast Cancer Yoga helps relieve taxing fatigue by encouraging deep breathing, which increases oxygen consumption.  This deep breathing is then tied into each gentle flowing yoga movement.  Each pose is supported with props to allow for comfort and support.

Begin a yoga practice, slowly, and before long you will begin to experience positive energy, increased flexibility, and less pain.

Studies show that breast cancer survivors who practice restorative yoga poses regularly, sleep better, have less joint pain, more energy, mental clarity, increased range of motion (ROM), strength, increased resistance, and lower stress.

Exercising to gain energy and strength can be a catch all; it’s hard to exercise if you’re tired and weak but what’s nice about yoga, particularly restorative yoga, is that it doesn’t take the strength and stamina required to go out for a run or bike ride. Restorative poses can be done either in a reclined position or a supported seated position.

Technique and pacing are important.

Please don’t over do it, especially when you get started. Rather, gradually implement a daily yoga practice. Work to maintain a positive attitude and know through time and practice you will see improvement. You will actually find that recovery can be a positive, “feel good” experience. Please speak to your health care provider before starting an exercise program of any kind. For more on restorative yoga and to see more poses demonstrated, visit http://www.breastcanceryoga.com/

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Specialized Restorative Yoga Therapy For Breast Cancer Recovery Book

Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Recovery Book By: Dawn Bradford-Lange, Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Recovery Gentle Flowing Yoga For Breast Health, Breast Cancer Related Fatigue & Lymphedema Management is a restorative yoga book created for a therapeutic breast cancer healing experience while being affordable to allRestorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Recovery is a unique restorative yoga therapy book for you or a loved one who has been recently diagnosed, is in treatment, or in recovery.

 

 

Book Includes:

      • 275+ Yoga Poses Images
      • 70+ Easy To Learn Yoga Poses
      • Illustrated Step By Step Instructions
      • Benefits Included For Each Pose
      • Use of Yoga Props Introduced
      • Breath Instructions For Each Pose
      • Valuable Tool For Yoga Teachers
      • Great For Beginners

Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Recovery BookBook Description:
This is a unique restorative yoga therapy book for breast health, lymphedema management and breast cancer recovery. This book contains a wide variety of supported restorative yoga poses that use different yoga props. The breath is also introduced with each flowing pose so that the mind as well as the muscles “let go” and relax allowing for the healing to begin and then to grow. Yoga poses are done either in a relaxed, reclined, seated, twisting and standing position.

Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Recovery:

  1. A great beginning to build a yoga practice for strength and flexibility.
  2. Includes yoga poses for aiding in lymphedema management.
  3. With a variety of easy to learn restorative yoga poses which can emotionally and physically improve the recovery process from breast cancer surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
  4. Explore the invaluable knowledge for maintaining breast health, reducing cancer related fatigue (CRF), and managing lymphedema.
  5. If you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed, is in treatment or in recovery, this yoga is the perfect place to start.
  6. Discover how a consistent practice of Restorative Yoga can provide inner peace and healing for your mind, body and spirit.

About the Author
Diana loves sharing her knowledge on the empowering benefits of restorative yoga flow. Her credentials as a yoga therapist are:

  • E-RYT 500 (Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher)
  • CYT (Certified Yoga Therapist)
  • Certified KaliRayTriYoga

Her Restorative Yoga Flow teachings are designed and focused for women in recovery, either from breast cancer or from injury and illness.

She also loves sharing her excitement for native american plants and their usefulness as complementary herbal medicines. Diana credentials in herbal medicines are: Certificates of Completion in: Therapeutic Botanicals in Medicinal Herbalism, Native American Herbs, Herbalism 5 Phase Theory, Medicine Making in Native American Herbs, and TCM-Traditional Chinese Medicines. The knowledge of Native American plants is expressed on her website, authority blog and to her students.

Book Details
Like Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 book? You can have one, too! Find Diana’s book at  Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Recovery: Gentle Flowing Yoga For Breast Health, Breast Cancer Related Fatigue & Lymphedema Management ($35.95 value). Follow us on our Breast Cancer Authority Blog and on our Breast Cancer Yoga Facebook page.

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross: An expert in the field of yoga, and complementary herbal medicines. She has dedicated the last 30 years studying yoga philosophy and Native American herbs. Her credentials are as an E-RYT 500 (Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher) and CYT (Certified Yoga Therapist).  Diana’s system of yoga is KaliRay TriYoga. She has studied with Yogini Kali Ray “Kaliji” for 18 years is certified from Basics to Level 2. As founder of Breast Cancer Yoga, and as a survivor Diana wants to make a difference and offer hope, health and support.Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Recovery Book

Welcome Relaxation For Breast Cancer With Yoga Nidra

Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Recovery Book

Photo From “Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Recovery”

By Diana Ross, E-RYT & Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to know that most of us are tense; and it doesn’t take much to get there. Now throw in an illness, disease or certain situation and that tension is compounded. I don’t know about you but it doesn’t take much for me to feel tension. It’s getting the tension to subside and go that is the challenge. Research shows tension held in the mind and body can have devastating health consequences. The benefits of relaxing the body while allowing the mind to rest can help in our recovery. Typically we may choose something artificial, like a drug to induce relaxation but the truth is it is superficial relaxation. This may mask the cause of the tensions, whereas introducing a Yoga Nidra practice can over time with regularity release the overall tensions. Learning Yoga Nidra is what will improve quality of life and healing. It is relaxation in action.

The truth is we function fully when we are relaxed. It is here when we feel a clear connection or continuous flow. However, when we lack the ability to eat well, hold positive thoughts, repeat habitual bad habits or embrace any negativity we suffer with excess tension. When we hold these tensions we begin the habit of continued holding, thus blocking the proper flow of energy and the capacity towards wellness. We know it isn’t working but we continue known the less. This is why Yoga Nidra can help us begin to remove these detrimental tensions to mind and body.

The Best Relaxation Response

Yoga Nidra, commonly known as “deep relaxation” is an integral part of yoga teachings. Yoga Nidra is a set of deep relaxation techniques that can lead you to a meditative state, which encourages a sense of well-being. Things become noticeable and vibrant, like these apple blossoms. It is usually introduced at the end of each asana (yoga) class and is known as Shavasana. It is here we begin to have a real relationship with our body and it is here also where we learn to “let go”. This letting go allows us to feel light and begin to realize the more subtle inner states of consciousness.

When we enter into the subtle realm of our conscious awareness, our body begins to relax and our mind opens to observe what is actually happening. Things just are. The more we detach from the negative thoughts, and the holding of unnecessary tensions we no longer identify with it all and we begin to find our way into a clearer space. A space where we can release, or cleanse ourself of the stresses of illness, anxieties of treatments, and fear of outcomes. The state of worry will be more manageable. When we relax the body, and calm the mind, negative emotions have no place to reside. The mind begins to be have clear thoughts and will move towards right action. The worried state dissipates leaving a tranquil state of mind, and body.

As we travel down this road of learning how to relax either through meditation, breathing or just being still we free our mind of false emotions or wrong thinking. As this begins to happen we are open to a clearer realization or higher knowledge. This will lead us to continuous relaxation in life. True relaxation comes as spiritual consciousness awakens. Yoga Nidra is the pathway to the inner expansion of awareness and a deeper balance in life.

In Yoga Nidra we appear to be in a sleep state, but we really are letting the outer world slide away and the inner world heighten. You could say that Yoga Nidra is conscious sleep or sleepless sleep. Yoga Nidra produces its greatest results by developing a regular practice of relaxation. A regular practice insures freedom from energy depleting tension, worry and fear. As a friend used to say to me “The only thing that comes from tension, worry or fear is more tension, worry and fear.” Start with 10 minutes lying down, wrapped in a blanket in a quiet place and then focus on your breath. If your mind wanders bring it back, and just let go. Try our Breathe with Purpose CD  .

Guaranteed Yoga Nidra – your relaxation response to wellness. http://www.breastcanceryoga.com

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Choose An Exercise Program That Is Right For You!

Exercise Program For Breast Cancer

By: Rika Keck, Medical Exercise Specialist For Women’s Wellness.

It is well known that an exercise program is supportive before, during and after surgery and treatment. Off course it is essential to see it within context of the individual, medical procedures, reaction to meds and energy levels.

Moderation is a big key and it is a great idea to work-out and to ‘work-in’ with quiet, stress reducing modalities such as meditation, Gentle Yoga, Qi Gong or a walk in Nature.

Here are a few points regarding exercise during and post-surgery and/or treatment:

  • Strength training will support bone integrity that becomes compromised with chemo and steroids. Discuss this with your physician if lymph nodes are affected in your cancer treatment or lymphodema in the arm is present.
  • A moderate/low intensity cardio program will support a healthy heart, circulation and mood – a mild sweat is a good guideline. Do wipe off the sweat so it does not re-enter the body, after all, the skin is an organ of elimination. (While undergoing radiation treatment, do discuss this with your doctor, as there are restrictions.)
  • Clothing might present some challenges. Make comfortable and organic cotton choices that allow free movement and airflow.
  • Physical therapy, post-therapy exercise will provide ROM (range of motion) as incisions start to heal. You want to avoid restrictions in movement to prevent secondary shoulder, wrist, neck and back problems. The process of regaining full range of motion after surgery does take time.
  • Acupuncture on the scares and adhesions is a good idea as scars can disrupt the nervous system. At the same time it will boost immune function and provide stress reduction. It is necessary to wait for healing of the skin.
  • Fatigue must be respected – yet a gentle exercise program will actually increase energy and support lymphatic flow.
  • Posture exercises: With the physical, emotional and psychological trauma, it is ‘normal’ to pull inwards in a protective manner esp. after surgery. Awareness and gentle exercises that pay attention to good posture will support the physical body and energetic flow between organs and glands.
  • Social support and laughter are so important. If possible seek out a fun, nurturing and safe environment. Uplifting music does help too!
  • Radiation adversely affects heart and lung health. (I am aware that this is a controversial point.) The bottom line is: Do support your cardiovascular system.

When it is cold outside, we must make sure to get our daily movement. Certainly there is nothing more refreshing and immune – stimulating than taking a brisk walk outside! However, trying to maneuver icy pavements or paths in Central Park can be challenging and this does increase the risk of falling.

I believe in ‘risk assessment’: Exercise regularly and moderately, but in a safe and fun environment.

Basic Facts: Let’s Talk About Exercise, Heart Health & Nutrition!
For bone health, esp. in menopause, it is important to add ‘stress’ on the bones. Walking is great, but it is not enough to facilitate sufficient bone stress and remodeling of bone. Walking does support a healthy cardiovascular system, lymphatic drainage and detoxification – besides burning off those Holiday treats…

Resistance training is essential to support stronger bones, especially if one has a genetically predetermined small frame. It is not about lifting heavy weights ‘a la Schwarzenegger’ and one generally does not ‘bulk up’ easily – a concern I still hear about today. Weight training for healthy bones is about a regular ‘overload’ on the connective tissue. If you carry your own shopping bags twice a week, you are doing your bones (but maybe not your back) a favor!

As a Nutrition and Exercise Specialist, I do stress that bones must be supported with good nutrition and a regular weight – training exercise program. It is also helpful not to live on an adrenaline rush. The hormones, esp. elevated cortisol, will adversely affect the mineral metabolism and bone health.

Acid-blocking medications will affect the absorption of calcium and magnesium from foods. This can result in a calcium deficiency affecting bones and teeth, increasing the risk of fractures and cavities. If you are using acid blocking meds, you are welcome to connect with me to discuss your options.

As we age, our tendons are more at risk, esp. if we have not been exposed to using weights or athletic movements. It is better to err on the side of caution by receiving expert guidance. Schedule a few sessions with a professional to get you going or join an exercise class with a good instructor. (Do your research!!!)

If there are pre-existing and additional physical restrictions e.g. joint concerns or joint replacements or other medical considerations, I would recommend starting up with the advice of an exercise professional. I have some clients, whom I meet for a few sessions to ‘get the ball rolling’.

Exercise movements that are functional and support balance training should be incorporated. Core training, stability and flexibility training must also be part of the program. All will support activities of daily living. As we age, generally it is the lack of flexibility and muscle tissue that can predispose us to a greater risk of injury, falls and decreased function.

Heart Health?
Despite all we hear about cancer, it is important to note that heart disease is still the #1 killer of men and women. Certainly, many factors play a role. However, do consider that the heart is a muscle and it needs to be kept strong with regular and continuous exercise.

Heart health requires good nutrition and regular exercise. Various medications will rob nutrients from the heart, brain and body. These nutrients include vitamins such as vitamin A, B, C, and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, calcium and CoQ10 and more…All are essential to maintain a healthy heart. If you are on medications, you would want to consider the possibility of medication induced vitamin/mineral deficiency. Chronic stress, living on an adrenaline charge and lack of sleep affects heart health adversely. Exercise is a great stress-reducing modality – but do make sure you rest too and do not over-exercise esp. cardio training!

What Else?
From a mind body perspective, integration of Yoga or other stress – reducing techniques incl. mediation are terrific.
Pilates is very popular too and it is very helpful for flexibility and reduced joint stress.

What matters most?
Choose an exercise program that is right for you!
Choose an exercise program that suits your needs, is effective and does not create pain. Sure, a little sore muscle here and there after strength work will let you now that you made ‘communication’ – your bones will be happy. What can happen with strength training is ‘Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)’. This happens within 24-48 hrs.

Before starting on an exercise program, do check in with your physician if you are on medications and/or have health concerns. Should you have had surgery, it is best to receive ‘clearance’ from the doc before starting to exercise.

In the meantime, let’s keep walking, healing and smiling!

Rika KechRika Keck is a nutrition, fitness women’s wellness consultant and contributor for Breast Cancer Authority Blog
Customized Nutrition, Medical Exercise Specialist and Women’s Wellness
NY Integrated Health
www.NYIntegratedHealth.com

Three Keys to Manage Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema

LymphedemaBy Diana Ross, ERYT, CYT, Certified TriYoga, Co-Founder Breast Cancer Yoga

Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema (BCRF) is more common then you would think after surgery or treatment. BCTL can be quite devastating to patients, as its far reaching consequences are a constant reminder of their cancer. It is also one of those things that is not given enough attention to and happens without any fanfare from the doctors so you are left most often wondering “What is this?, How can I stop the pain and swelling? Will it go away? Unfortunately once you have lymphedema – you have it. You will need to learn to manage it.

StepUp-SpeakOut.Org posted these two articles that were immensely informative on BCRL Using Yoga For Lymphedema, Yoga For Lymphedema Studies that put such a smile on my face. More often than not findings of research and study on yoga and lymphedema are limited in scope, so when I came across trials that support and promote yoga, breathing and relaxation I become quite excited about sharing this positive information.

The three keys of an integrated yoga program that may be well suited in a holistic self management for BCRL lymphedema are:

DVD

Yoga DVD

Yoga Use arm movements that are gentle and flowing. Combined these movements with a synchronized deep breath. For example, inhale arms up, exhale and lower arms. This will help create a relaxed state of mind, and release muscle tension. It was stated in studies that significant improvement to arm sensations of heaviness and limb size was supported in the reduction of chest density and the noticeable softening of adhesions and fibrous of the soft tissue. The authors (McClure etal 2010) stated ‘that the sequencing of movement with breathing would promote lymph flow and thoracic emptying while at the same time reducing stress and negative mood, leading to improved immune function in what they described as a ‘circle of healing.’

 

"Sun Moon Breath" With Rochelle Donnino

Breathing CD

Breathing – Breathing is one of the most important tools in yoga to help manage breast cancer-related lymphedema. Too many times I have read or heard from other instructors that holding the breath in (breath retention) was not good for lymphedema. I now read it is better than good. It helps to create pressure changes that empty the lymphatic system into the Venus system at the thoracic ducts and clear the lymphatic pathways. This happens both before the pose begins and again when the pose is finished. (Vaqas etal, 2003). It is also mentioned a long, slow breath may improve the elasticity of the secondary inhalation muscles, the pectoral minor, major and serratus anterior. These muscles can become impaired from surgery and radiation. Breathing correctly and consciously is one of the best things we can do for ourselves.

Relaxation, “Meditation” or Mindfulness – These practices that are introduced to breast cancer patients have shown to reduce stress and improve mood, boost immune function and increase one’s quality of life. Relaxation and/or meditation bring changes to the nervous system that create calm and initiate lymphatic drainage. When the affected arm is elevated during the relaxation portion of the class, both the body cools down, thus increasing the parasympathetic nervous system response and the initiation of lymphatic drainage.

These overall findings support the opinion that exercise, breathing and relaxation may offer another self-management tool for patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema. Self management may also include attention to skin care and self massage, wearing a compression sleeve, elevating the affected arm and knowledge of any other risk reduction.

Use non-straining poses that focus on the breath and on relaxing the mind. Choose yoga poses that work on clearing the lymph nodes in the arm from proximal to distal, and then from the shoulder out and down to the hand. Tensing muscles at the top of the inhale will help facilitate pressure changes for the flow of lymph. Lymph flow is slow moving and so should the flow of the pose. This will allow the lymph collectors to fill and empty. After a sequences of poses, it is recommended that rest follows. This will promote relaxation.

It is important to note, “Use moderation when starting something new or when returning.” I also want to mention that it is important to do your yoga in a room where the temperature is comfortable, not hot. Hot yoga is not recommended; it is contraindicated as heat will add to the lymphatic load. Some may want to wear a compression sleeve and gauntlet if swollen, if not swollen do not restrict the arm.

Even with my excitement I must say that when working with lymphedema the teacher and students must be vigilant about limits, appropriate warms ups and cool downs, use of bandages or not, and over exertion. You can go to the Breast Cancer Yoga Authority Blog and read up on all special articles from very special contributors. They are there to serve – so please ask questions.

 

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Relief from Cancer-Related Fatigue

Breast Cancer "Legs Over Bolster" Yoga Pose

Angela Stryngkowski, E-RYT 500 Happily Doing “Legs Over Bolster” Yoga Pose

By Diana Ross, E-RYT 500, Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is very common. Fatigue can often be confused with tiredness, but there are differences between the two conditions. For one, tiredness happens to everyone, especially after certain activities or chemo – but  fatigue is less common and an excessive whole-body tiredness that is not relieved with sleep.   This debilitating condition can impact your quality of life.  It can be acute (lasting a month or less) or chronic (lasting from one month to six months or longer). The precise reason for this intensive tiredness is unknown, but practitioners believe it may be related to the process of cancer itself or chemotherapies and radiation treatments. (CRF) is one of the most common side effects of cancer and its associated treatments. Usually, it comes on suddenly, and does not result from activity or exertion. It is often described as “paralyzing.” It may continue even after treatment is complete.

 If you’re a cancer survivor and feeling tired or even worse, even long after treatment, you are not alone. But you can do something about it.

About one-third of breast cancer survivors experience CRF for anywhere from a year to several years post-treatment. While there’s no conventional therapy to resolve it, studies are increasingly showing yoga can help.  Patients with different cancers report relief with exercise, specifically yoga.

 Yoga designed especially for breast cancer survivors is helping women to catch a second wind.

In fact, a recent UCLA study found that three months after beginning this practice, women with post-treatment fatigue were still feeling more invigorated than before they began the exercise program. Not only do women become more energized, but they see improvement in mood and sleep; they are typically more relaxed, more aware, and more accepting of what life brings to them. All these attributes are so critical as we work toward continued mental and physical well being, and ultimately, our healing.

 How does Breast Cancer Yoga target physical and emotional fatigue?

Breast Cancer Yoga helps relieve taxing fatigue by encouraging deep breathing, which increases oxygen consumption.  This deep breathing is then tied into each gentle flowing yoga movement.  Each pose is supported with props to allow for comfort and support.

Begin a yoga practice, slowly, and before long you will begin to experience positive energy, increased flexibility, and less pain.

Studies show that breast cancer survivors who practice restorative yoga poses regularly, sleep better, have less joint pain, more energy, mental clarity, increased range of motion (ROM), strength, increased resistance, and lower stress.

Exercising to gain energy and strength can be a catch all; it’s hard to exercise if you’re tired and weak but what’s nice about yoga, particularly restorative yoga, is that it doesn’t take the strength and stamina required to go out for a run or bike ride. Restorative poses can be done either in a reclined position or a supported seated position, for example:

 Legs Over Bolster Forward Bend

*  creates a deep sense of inner peace
*  stimulates parasympathetic relaxation response
*  relieves stress and anxiety
*  decreases heart rate
*  reduces circulating stress hormones
*  lengthens back body
*  stretches adductors
*  decreases lumbar lordosis

Technique and pacing are important.

Please don’t over do it, especially when you get started. Rather, gradually implement a daily yoga practice. Work to maintain a positive attitude and know through time and practice you will see improvement. You will actually find that recovery can be a positive, “feel good” experience. Please speak to your health care provider before starting an exercise program of any kind. For more on restorative yoga and to see more poses demonstrated, visit http://www.breastcanceryoga.com/

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

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