Why Cancer Patients Use Yoga To Cope With Diagnosis & Treatment

Yoga Counteracts Anxiety And Stress During Cancer Treatment

It is well documented that yoga decreases stress hormones, like cortisol and increases GABA (gamma-Aminonbutyric acid) levels. GABA is an important calming chemical produced by the brain that counteracts anxiety and stress. GABA is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter chemical in the brain. GABA is responsible for balancing mood levels.

Restorative Yoga Practice Increases Cancer Patients Physical Stamina

It is believed that certain physical reaction disorders are due to the failure to produce adequate levels of GABA. Through brain imaging it has been shown that a restorative yoga practice increases GABA levels markedly. When GABA levels are maintained with breast cancer patients, physical stamina increases. Daily activities like climbing stairs, walking and doing the laundry become easier compared with those that don’t engage in a yoga practice or exercise.

Patients Who Practice Yoga Appear to Cope Better

Depression is also important to address with (breast) cancer patients. The uncertainty about prognosis and treatment, concerns of pain or even death, lack of physical and functional abilities and social changes contribute to depression. Patients who practice yoga appear to cope better with symptoms of illness, and the side effects and distresses of treatments. It is sited that the physical poses, breathing exercises, meditation techniques are especially helpful components of a yoga practice.

The proper balancing of the physical, and then emotional body are key to recovery, and good health. We need both but they need to be in balance, and yoga works directly at balancing them.

Best Yoga Poses To Encourage And Energize Cancer Patients
Suggested Cancer Self-Help Healing Books:

Dawn BradfordAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

Herbal Spring Detox Recipes For Cancer Prevention And Treatment

Herbal Spring Detox Recipes For Cancer Prevention And Treatment

By Patricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG) & Author of Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians.

Spring detoxification herbs known as spring tonics are used now to cleanse the body during cancer.  Many of the best spring tonics just happen to also be the first wild greens, or weeds, that pop up everywhere. You may have already noticed violet, dandelion, chickweed, yellow dock, nettles and others that herald the arrival of spring.

What these plants have in common is that they gently simulate all of the organs of detoxification: the lymph glands; liver; kidneys; and skin. Think of spring tonics as seasonal house cleaners that scour away toxins and waste from every nook and cranny in the body, making everything fresh and new. 

HOW TO DETOXIFY FROM CHEMOTHERAPY AND REPAIR THE BODY

Some cancer patients embark on a juice fast in the spring as a way to eliminate toxins, but since fasting isn’t appropriate for everyone, tonic herbs are a good alternative. If you’ve been ill recently, have been or are taking medications, or are not able to devote the time needed each day to prepare special foods, you can still reap significant benefits this spring using herbal spring tonics.

Spring tonics should be made into a tea, or infusion daily. To prepare a therapeutic infusion, steep one ounce (by weight) of dried herb, or 2 ounces of fresh herb (gently crushed with a wooden spoon), in 32 ounces (by volume) of freshly boiled water for at least an hour, covered. Strain out the herb and discard. Try to drink 1 quart each day. A one-quart canning jar is perfect for preparing tonic infusions.

Detoxification is especially important for immunocompromised diseases such as cancer Here are a two common spring tonics for you to consider. If you can gather them from an unpolluted place, the wild herbs are the best, but both of the herbs described here are also readily available from herb shops and on-line herb suppliers

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioca) strengthens and supports the entire body. It gently detoxifies all tissues. Considered a blood-cooling herb, it is a specific for anyone with eczema, acne, boils or other hot, eruptive skin conditions. Stinging nettle is a delicious wild green (when cooked) that is rich in chlorophyll, vitamin C, and other vitamins. Use the leaves in place of spinach.

Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale) is a general tonic that relieves liver congestion. Symptoms associated with liver congestion include migraine headaches, pre-menstrual syndrome, breast tenderness, breast cysts, and chronic constipation. The leaves are also a wonderful spring tonic when eaten raw in salads.

Patricia Howell

Patricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG) is a clinical herbalist with more than 20 years experience and the author of Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians. A member of the Governing Council of the American Herbalists Guild, she is founder and director of the BotanoLogos School of Herbal Studies, located in the mountains of northeast Georgia.

Learn more at www.wildhealingherbs.com.

Read Related Articles & Resources

Simple Yoga Backbend For Breast Cancer Physical Therapy

This simple and therapeutic yoga pose offers many benefits to breast cancer patients in treatment and recovery. The main benefits of this pose are that it elevates the chest, deepens the breath, promotes lymphatic drainage of breasts and widens the pectoral muscles.

Benefits

  • Balances autonomic nervous system
  • Allows the shoulder blades to feel supported comfortably
  • Spreads the clavicle, relieves pressure on brachial plexus (network of nerves)
  • Stretches pectoral muscles
  • Quickly promotes inner calm
  • Elevates chest, and deepens breath
  • Promotes lymphatic drainage of breasts & pectorals
  • Post-surgical benefits of reducing fibrous adhesions and scar tissue

Instructions
This pose requires three cylinder bolsters and one rectangle bolsters or many cushions from the couch and many blankets would work, too (well worth the effort.)

  1. Begin seated on folded blankets/cushion with legs extended over one cylinder bolster with feet resting on a folded blanket, small pillow or another bolster.
  2. Place two yoga cylinder bolsters/pillows, separated 3/4 inches apart behind back running horizontal to torso.
  3. Roll back onto bolsters, placing arms and shoulders in between where there  is an opening and rest head on bolster. A small pillow is not needed.
  4. Stay in this pose for 10 minutes depending on comfort level or make necessary adjustments to enjoy this pose to the fullest.
  5. If needed, you can place hands on chest or belly with fingers interlaced together.
  6. Elbows may rest on props.
  7. When finished, sit up, coming off of the bolster/blankets, place bolster on lap, and drape the torso over the bolster in a forward bend.
  8. Enjoy the forward release of your spine.

To experience the benefits of yoga for breast cancer, it is essential that you begin with simple, gentle yoga movements. You should also consult a doctor before you begin practicing yoga. It is also necessary that you follow a yogic diet that consists of a mainly vegetarian diet to enhance the benefits of yoga.

Try Breast Cancer Yoga’s extra gentle yoga DVD for breast cancer recovery and lymphedema management.

Linda Scheele RYT 200, has been studying Ana Forrest style yoga for over 5 years. Linda has the ability to connect with her students, inspire self-confidence regardless of one’s age or yoga experience. Linda is registered with Yoga Alliance and certified as a Breast Cancer Yoga Teacher. Available products from Linda for download are Chair Yoga and Yoga Nidra .

Immune Boosting Cancer Patient Soup Recipe

This incredible vegan soup recipe includes green tea, lemon, shiitake mushrooms, coconut oil, turmeric, garlic and ginger. WOW! All those good, cancer fighting, phytonutrients in one delicious soup. Remember, when making this soup or any dish always use organic ingredients when possible.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbl Coconut Oil
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 2 Stalks Celery chopped
  • 3 Carrots sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 2 Parsnips sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • Shiitake Mushrooms rehydrated
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 C Vegetable Broth I prefer low-sodium
  • 2 Green Tea Bags with Lemon
  • 1 tsp Black Peppercorns
  • 2 small Bay Leaf or 1 large
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic minced
  • 1-1/2 tsp of freshly grated Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Turmeric
  • Lemon halves optional, grilled
  • Parsley for garnish
  • Eggless Noodles
  • Crackers for serving

Directions

  1. To begin, add the vegetable broth, bay leaves, turmeric, ginger and peppercorns to a large stock pot.
  2. Tie the tea bags as I have shown here so they can steep in the liquid.
  3. Bring the liquid to a boil, add the tea bags and simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove the tea bags and strain the liquid to remove the bay leaves and peppercorns.
  5. In a large saute pan, add the coconut oil, onions, celery, carrots and parsnips and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Once tender, remove from the burner and add the garlic, allow the residual heat to cook it.
  7. If you have a grill pan, heat to high and add the lemon halves for just a few minutes until caramelized. This step is optional.
  8. Add lemon halves to the broth and boil for about 10 minutes. Remove the lemons.
  9. While the broth is boiling, rehydrated the shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes, drain and rinse.
  10. Prepare the noodles.
  11. Combine the mushrooms, sautéed vegetables and broth.
  12. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with your favorite crackers.

Recipe from the TheVegLife.com

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Dawn Bradford Co-Founder of Breast Cancer YogaAbout Dawn Bradford Lange: Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

Cancer Exercise Specialist Helping Clients Achieve Their Full Potential

Deborah Hugh’s is one of 55 speakers from The Breast Cancer Rehabilitaion & Wellness Summit, her interest in fitness and nutrition led her to her first personal training job over 20 years ago. She became Nautilus Certified and continued her education by attending Suffolk Community College to earn her A.S. in Fitness Specialist.  Debbie holds an ACE Certification in Personal Training, is a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist, a Certified Reiki Practitioner, and is currently enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) earning her Holistic Health Coach Certification.

Throughout the years she has worked with a variety of clients with many different needs.  In 2005, she started her own company, The Fitness Club, which provides personal training and nutritional counseling to help clients achieve their full potential through exercise, whole foods, and happy living!

Debbie became a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist after her friend and mentor lost her battle with breast cancer, this led to her to start Strength for Life with Jacqui Errico. It has become her personal mission to promote the amazing benefits of exercise, nutrition and complementary care for those diagnosed with cancer and to keep the memory of her friend alive.

Debbie created a community exercise program in which persons with a cancer diagnosis participate in group classes designed to enhance their recovery process. Services provided will include educating cancer patients and the general public on the benefits of exercise in reducing the risk of certain cancers and improving functional activities.

http://strengthforlifeny.org/ Debbie’s interest in fitness and nutrition led her to her first personal training job over 20 years ago. She became Nautilus Certified and continued her education by attending Suffolk Community College to earn her A.S. in Fitness Specialist.  Debbie holds an ACE Certification in Personal Training, is a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist, a Certified Reiki Practitioner, and is currently enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) earning her Holistic Health Coach Certification.

 

Protein-Rich, Salt-Free Pea Soup Recipe For A Cancer Diet

Breast Cancer Authority Blog has an extensive collection of cancer diet recipes. Are recipes focus on protein rich, plant-based, sugar-free and organic ingredients. The amount of protein suggested in a Google search is that a cancer patients should consume 45 – 60 grams of complete protein each day. However, my Mothers nutritionist suggested we feed her 70 grams of protein. Pea protein can be found in plant-based protein supplements and this wonderful pea soup recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups Dried Split Peas
  • 7 Cups of Salt Free Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Mustard
  • 4 Medium Garlic Cloves Diced
  • 3 Stalks of Celery Sliced
  • 2 Medium Carrots Sliced
  • 1 Potato Diced
  • 1-4 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

Toppings:

  • Sesame oil
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Fresh Chopped Parsley

Directions:

  1. Place first 5 ingredients in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, partially covered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent split peas from sticking to bottom of pot.
  3. Add onions, garlic, celery, carrots and potato. (You can saute these first with 4  tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast or add them in directly if you want a fat-free soup).
  4. Partially cover and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.(You may need to add extra water).
  5. Season to taste with pepper and vinegar.
  6. Serve with a drizzle of sesame oil, diced tomato and minced parsley.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

 

 

Cancer, Gratitude Practice & Yoga: Easy Ways To Significantly Improve Your Life

Developing gratitude is a practice and a skill which yoga supports. One way to engage in a gentle practice of gratitude is through the use of mudra. Mudras are hand positions and often called ‘yoga for the hands’. They are gestures which ‘seal’ our intentions or desires by focusing breath and energy into our mudras.

Lotus Mudra is one way to contemplate our gratitude. By joining our hands at the heart-space, we keep the base of the palms joined and touch pinky and thumbs together;  while spreading open our fingers like a lotus flower. The lotus flower is nourished by mud and fed by sunshine.

For cancer survivors, and I am one, this lovely gesture has even deeper and richer meaning. From the murky depth of cancer, there continues to be rays of life and hope. Can we hold both truths in our mind’s eye?

I find that a simple bouquet of flowers goes a long way to nudging my mind toward gratitude.  As we hold the Lotus Mudra, we can fill the container of our hearts by naming our blessings. Practicing gratitude takes less than 3 seconds and this small change can bring big rewards to our immune system.

Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” depends on feeding the soul. We acknowledge the mud we all swim in, and see that difficult circumstances may bring opportunities, as well. I was talking with a newly diagnosed cancer patient just yesterday. He has been stubbornly independent his whole life. And he told me he was proud of himself for being independent. I told him that cancer diagnosis and treatment was a time to open up receiving help. We don’t “do cancer alone”!

Research tells us that those who have a :

  • Social network, far better during cancer treatment
  • Yoga can help fatigue and sleep
  • More fruits and veggies in our diets is better fuel for our bodies
  • Spiritual practices can be supportive of our immune system
  • Developing coping skills can ease anxiety

Yoga practices are more than postures for the body or asanas. A whole person is mind, body, emotions and spirit. We simply unite these aspects of the human experience with breathing consciously. As we progress, we consciously awaken to our everyday lives and see anew. We needn’t travel to India, yoga’s homeland, or even leave our beds to give gratitude aloud. I am not advocating ignoring the pain that cancer and its treatments bring. I am saying that these muddy waters are rich soul-food which demands we rise above the darkness. That in the midst of hardship, we do not overlook the tenacity of a weed to grow out of cement.

And though I don’t know you, when I give thanks during the Lotus Mudra, I will call your soul by name and include you in my gratitude. We journey together.

About Jean Di Carlo Wagner: Owner of Yogabeing.net
E-RYT200, E-RYT500 certified with Yoga Alliance
Yoga Therapist with International Alliance of Yoga Therapists
Atma Yoga Teacher Training, certified 500 hours Los Angeles
A Gentle Way Yoga, certified 200 hours
Silver Age Yoga, certified 200 hours

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Suggested Cancer Self-Help Healing Books:

 

Inspirational Book For Cancer Patients

Breast Cancer Authority Blog brings you exciting news. A new cancer patient self help book, the ABC Workbook for Cancer Patients: Healing One Letter at a Time, was just released on Amazon.com.  You can get your copy today.  This book is written by a breast cancer survivor times two to help cancer patients have something positive to think about during treatment or while they are in the waiting game.  As cancer patients know, there are long periods of weeks, to wait for results of testing, appointments to see other specialist, and time after radiation and chemotherapy for the three-month PET scan to see if the treatment has been helpful. Waiting to hear is one of the hardest parts of treatment. Speaking of waiting to hear, brings me to another important piece of this cancer journey.  Do you feel heard?

Let’s admit it, cancer treatment is big business.  But I do believe that most if not all oncologist, radiologists, and medical cancer professionals go into this career for the same reason I became a psychologist, to help people.  In the helping people industry, there is a lot of overwhelm, busy schedules and an overload of work to be done, from reading lab results, to consulting with team members and ordering more tests to actually seeing the patient.  It is overwhelming and if you are the 3 o’clock patient that is seeing your doctor (who has yet to grab a bite to eat and has been running on caffeine all-day) you may very well be in that slot that is invisible.  Meaning that, by that time in the day,the doctor is on auto-pilot and your story is blending with the 18 others he/she has already heard throughout the day.  Thus, when you ask your important question, “Will this treatment cause my hair to fall out?”  You may very well hear; most chemotherapy patients lose their hair.  I suggest you buy a wig, if that is bothersome to you.”  Well, that really wasn’t the answer you were looking for.  You were hoping for something more empathic like, “Yes, being concerned about losing your hair is a really important question and I imagine the answer is not one that is going to help you feel comfortable.  Yes, you probably will lose your hair by at least the third treatment.  There are several options that you have for this unpleasant side-effect of treatment.”

Now, this is where it gets a bit tricky depending on how large of a treatment center you are attending.  Many clinics today have a cancer care co-ordinater.  That person is assigned to you to walk along beside of you and answer important questions like, “Will my hair fall out?” Other facilities are understaffed and over-worked (I think they are all over-worked regardless of how many staff they have) and regardless of how hard the staff try, it is difficult for them to attend to your many questions.  Thus, that is why is it is so important that you develop an attitude that you are the captain of your treatment team.  You do the research on line, find support groups, and find key players as your cancer resource team.  From there you get what you need because you pursue the information.  In my book the T letter of the alphabet is TALK.  Ask for What You Need.  That short helpful chapter acts as a reminder and a permission giver for you to use your words to ask for what you need.  You may not always get an affirmative answer, but I promise you will never get an answer if you don’t ask.

I have three cancer related books on the market, In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer, which is a story about what it was like to get the diagnosis and go through treatment in 1999.  Then last year, I published Breast Cancer A-Z Mindful Practices.  It is a great assistant to someone recently diagnosed and in treatment for breast cancer, similar tomy newest book, ABC Workbook for Cancer Patients.  Each book keeps getting better and each one has something to offer to the reader.  I encourage you to check out each book on Amazon.com today.

Suggested Cancer Self-Help Healing Book:

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

 

Three Minute Exercise To Boost Your Breast Cancer Healing Process

In our Western Culture, we often use our bodies as if they are machines, neglected machines at that. Our bodies deserve our focus and attention and it can be as simple as stopping our endless activity and taking three minutes to check in. The three-minute check is a simple mindful body scan to acknowledge what your body wants and does not want.

You are on this website or this blog because you have an interest in the body-mind connection. You have found that it is important to incorporate your body into your healing process. Some of us resonant with Yoga, others of us do not. No problem. Here is a simple exercise that I created for you to check in with your body and this exercise will help you get to your YES, in the previous blog.

How to do a Body Scan Meditation
Learning to scan your body for information is a way of practicing mindfulness. Here are some easy steps.

  1. Turn your attention to your body. You don’t need any fancy way of sitting, a meditative place to go, or any special equipment. Take a breath and turn your attention toward your body.
  2. Notice what position it is in. How are you currently sitting? What aches? What is uncomfortable? Take a moment to practice slow breathing. Breathe all the way in and exhale as if you are blowing out a candle. Crunch your body up tightly and gently let it go. Breathe, crunch, and breathe again.
  3. Bring your goal, wish, or your want to the foreground of your mind’s eye. Allow yourself to sit with it for a few moments. Even allowing yourself to say your goal gently out loud, or to yourself. Allow yourself to imagine that goal being accomplished. See the finished accomplishment. Notice what you feel. How does your body respond to that finished accomplishment?
  4. What is happening to your tension, neck, back, shoulders, stomach? Just notice it. Breathe again, deeply in and gently blow out the candle.
  5. Notice any negativity, resistance, restraint, and observe. Breathe into it and exhale slowly.
  6. Notice again your body. Is there a YES? If not, what is there? Sadness, fear, anger. Accept it, smile at it. “Ah yes, there you are. You have been trying to get my attention and I have been running and avoiding you. What do you need me to know?” If you have your YES, make it bigger in size and then smaller in size.
  7. Just observe what happens to your body when you stop long enough to listen.
  8. As you listen, allow yourself to experience. Stay close to yourself. Use your breath to regulate your emotion. Move toward the emotion, not away from it. Give yourself a bit of time to just be here now.
  9. Bring your awareness back to your body. Notice what it is feeling and where. Use your breath to gently raise and lower your abdomen. Let yourself smile and say thank-you.
  10. Gently allow yourself to come back to the here and now.

Do this exercise as often as you can. By experimenting with this exercise often through-out the day you learn information about yourself that you do not normally take time to pay attention to. This important information will guide you to better and more positive choices for yourself and even for those around you.

If you body cringes every time it is around a certain person, what is it that your body wants you to know?

If your body feels upbeat and energetic around other people, notice. You get to choose who, how often and under what circumstances people are in your daily life.

Your body can become your best radar as to who is good for you or whom you need to place a protective ring around yourself when you have to be around them. Your imaginary ring of protection will help you not to absorb their energy or allow you to be brought down by their negativity. The imaginary ring protects.

New Book For Cancer Patients By Dr. Dilley

 

 

Suggested Cancer Self-Help Healing Book:

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

Naturally Sweetened Infused Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

Below is a recipe for making oatmeal raisin cookies using cannabis/CBD infused agave nectar and coconut sugar. This recipe also includes infused butter that provides a well-balanced and extended release of the cannabis infusions. We have included a video that clearly illustrates how to infuse the naturals sugars and butter using cannabis/CBD tinctures. Remember, always use organic ingredients when possible.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup infused butter
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar or Brown Swerve (Erythritol)
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 6 Tablespoons or 3 fluid ounces of cannabis/CBD in total for these cookies with one fluid ounce in each of the 3 infusing ingredients, agave nectar, butter and coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375
  2. In large bowl cream butter, coconut sugar and agave
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla until fluffy
  4. Add flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon mix well
  5. Add oats & raisins mix well
  6. Drop dough by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets
  7. Bake 8 – 9 minutes for  a chewy cookie and 10 – 11 minutes for a crispy cookie
  8. Cool one minute on cookie sheet then move to wire rack
  9. Cool completely and store in tight container or freeze. Stays good frozen for 4-6 months

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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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