Yoga For Cancer Patients: A Lifestyle Enhancement Technique

Exercise Program For Breast CancerLearn more about the uses of yoga for cancer patients, and its synergistic effects in chemotherapy and radiation

What is Yoga?
Yoga originated in India around 5000 years ago. The term is derived from Sanskrit word “Yuj”; it means to unite and to integrate. Yoga is a body of knowledge; it’s a whole-body philosophy. It is all about harmonizing the body and mind, and to unite the physical with mental and spiritual. Yoga is a synchronization of various breathing techniques, postures, stretching and meditation. It helps in providing harmony between mind, body, and soul.

Yogis promote yoga as a way of staying healthy and preventing diseases and illness and relieve stress that our everyday lives bring upon us. They claim that the postures will stimulate the nervous system, make the muscles and joints more flexible, and relax mind and body. The exercises combined with breathing improve our oxygen and blood supply. In turn, this helps our circulation and breathing, which promotes general good health. There are several different styles of yoga including Hatha Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, and Astanga yoga. Some are quite strenuous, while others are gentler and focus more on meditation and breathing.

Practicing Yoga for cancer patients is known to be of great benefit to their psychological, physical and emotional health and well-being.

How Does Yoga Work?
Yoga works on the mind body and soul. Practicing yoga consists of different poses and imagery that aids in strengthening the connection between mind and body, through various breathing techniques. Specific yoga poses and postures help to train the body. These poses focus on the effort that is required to move the energy through the body, the stretch helps strengthen the muscle and are beneficial for any musculoskeletal injuries. Yoga also keeps the mind-body connection strong and helps individuals who practice yoga to increase focus and concentration. Yoga uses controlled breathing as a way to merge the mind, body, and spirit. It is believed that this will control the energy flow in our body. Several research studies suggest that yogic practices such as inhalation techniques, can significantly increase vagal tone and improve symptoms of a variety of conditions, including diabetes, chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. It slows down heart rate, calms the mind, and leads to a deep, inner calm and sense of relaxation. Yoga for cancer patients has been shown to ease emotional and physical pain and better resilience to fight cancer.

Where is Yoga Found?
Due to wide acceptance of yoga practices through all the cultures and societies, it’s easy to find a yoga class, yoga is offered as one to one sessions with the yogi teachers as well as in the form of class or group sessions. Yoga is provided by several for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Yoga is offered in wide variety of surroundings from classes occurring in parks and spas to the gym and home sessions. Yoga for cancer patients is offered in some hospitals as well as a part of complementary cancer therapy and rehabilitation program for cancer survivors.

Advantages of Yoga with Different Types of Cancer
Yoga has been proven quite beneficial for patients battling with cancer or trying to recover from cancer treatments. Most of the cancer patients undergoing cancer treatment suffer from psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety. Undergoing rigorous and invasive treatment for cancer puts enormous strain on the patient. Research has revealed that yogic breathing, defined as a manipulation of breath movement, has been shown to affect positively immune function, autonomic nervous system imbalances, and psychological or stress-related disorders. Yoga also has a mood-boosting effect, releasing endorphins and elevating the mood, hence helping deal with depression in cancer patients.

One of the most taxing side effects of cancer and its treatment is dealing with the pain, and yoga for cancer patients helps to overcome this pain, in elevating their mood, and in increasing the threshold for pain. It is physically helpful for the management of pain experienced during treatment. Research has shown that women who practice yoga during rehabilitation have low scores for pain and stress. A small individual study in the USA in 2012 found that yoga reduced fatigue in women with breast cancer. Some studies seem to show that yoga may be able to reduce hot flushes in women with breast cancer. One small trial showed that people with lymphoma had fewer sleep disturbances, fell asleep more quickly, and slept for longer after a seven-week yoga program.

Does Yoga Enhance the Effect of Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is the form of treatment for cancer, although effective chemotherapy has several side effects like nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, fatigue, and pain. Yoga for cancer patient helps relieve the side effects of chemotherapy. Restorative yoga is quite beneficial during chemotherapy the breathing exercises in yoga can even be practiced during chemo infusion. Yoga helps reduce stress and increases the quality of life in cancer patients. It also enhances psychological health of cancer patients and results in good mood and spiritual well-being. Research also indicates that people who practice yoga sleep better.

Does Yoga Enhance the Effects of Radiotherapy?
Radiotherapy is another form of cancer therapy that includes delivering radiation to the parts of the body affected with cancer. Radiation therapy has several side effects, and yoga has been shown to promote compliance and active approach to treatment during and after radiation therapy cycle. The results of randomized trials focusing on breast cancer women undergoing radiotherapy indicate that yoga for cancer patients relieved stress improved these patients quality of life, and the rigor of practicing yoga helped these patients cope with the transition of getting back to their normal life.

Can Yoga Reduce the Side Effects of Chemotherapy and Radiation?
Chemo and radiation therapy are the mainstays of cancer treatment. However, they do have considerable side effects, due to these side effects cancer patients have decreased the quality of life and take a longer period to return to their normal activities. Yoga for cancer patients practiced during and after treatment helps patients cope up with the side effects, by aiding in connecting mind body and soul and thus decreasing their rehabilitation period. The stretches that constitute the yoga pose also helps exercise their body, keeping it healthy.

What Influence Does Yoga Have on the Immune System?
Yoga is a great but gentle way to boost and support the immune system on the day to day basis. Yoga helps lower stress hormones level; stress hormones compromise the immune system, stimulating the movement of lymphatic and releasing toxins from the body while breathing methods strengthen lungs and respiratory tract and bringing plentiful oxygen to vital organs. Practicing yoga for cancer patients has been shown to improve immunity

Does Yoga Increase Quality of Life and Survival Rate?
Several studies have proven that yoga for cancer patients increases the quality of life. During and after treatment, practicing yoga has also been linked to low cortisol levels, a hormone which is related to poor survival in breast cancer patients, thus yoga, when practiced as a complementary treatment, has been shown to have a positive effect on survival rates as well.

Learn more about “Natural ways of cancer treatment” on our website.

Study: Yoga linked to higher survival rates in cancer patients
The Science of Yoga and Why It Works

Dr. Adem Gunes

Dr. Adem Gunes has built the world’s largest database of scientifically tested natural substances with proven effects in cancer treatments. In 2009, he was appointed as the Chief Physician of ProLife Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, and played a key role in the establishment of the research laboratory. He is also the co-founder of the first Austrian hyperthermia center. Now, Dr. Adem works closely with cancer patients from around the world (including Germany, Thailand, Dubai) to recommend them a complementary cancer clinic or to create a personalized care plan for patients to follow at

Anti-Germ Warfare – The Natural Way

Natural Germ Warfare With Herbs For Breast CancerBy Ellen Kamhi PhD RN .

The media world is a-buz about ‘bugs’! However, the new threats of “swine flu”, bring us back to a basic discussion. Should be just sit around and wait until we become a victim, and then take an antibiotic or Tamiflu and hope that the illness goes away? Or would it be wiser to be a health advocate, and shore up our immune system- the body’s natural defense mechanism. (One interesting point to consider is that Tamiflu was developed by Gilead Sciences. Donald Rumsfeld was Chairman of the Board of Gilead from 1997-2001, when he became Secretary of Defense under Bush. )

The immune system is made up of a combination of specialized cells, chemicals, tissues, and organs. These include the lymph nodes, thymus gland, spleen, bone marrow and tonsils as well as specialized white blood cells, which recognize and engulf invading microorganisms and cellular debris.

The ability of the immune system to function optimally is influenced by many factors. These include inherent genetic makeup, environmental influences, (such as pollution, pesticides, hormones, artificial flavoring/colorings in food), obesity and stress levels; not only exposure to infective agents, whether they are natural or man-made. We can aid our immune system by eating a high amount of organic green vegetables, whole grains and nuts, while cutting down on ‘junk food’ consumption. Stress reduction, through prayer, meditation, yoga and moderate exercise, such as a daily walk around Century Village’s great walkway- is more important than ever when we are under sustained stress.

Herbs may be used in several ways to aid in our Anti-Germ Warfare personal campaigns. Tonic herbs strengthen the immune system over time, while strong immune system stimulants have a more immediate action, and are used during an acute infection. Many herbs have been scientifically proven to have strong broad spectrum anti-microbial properties.

Herbal tonics work to help maintain a dynamic balance in the body and usually need to be taken long-term. Astragalus is said to build Wei chi. “Chi” is the Chinese concept of life energy force. One study by the National Cancer Institute demonstrated Astragalus’ ability to help strengthen the immune system’s resistance, especially to viral infections. Reishi has been called the “mushroom of immortality”, and has been used for centuries as an overall tonic. Ligustrum berries are used by Chinese physicians specifically for their immune enhancing activities. Codonopsis is a Chinese herb that contains the bitter yellow compound, berberine, that helps the immune system prevent infections. Other immune system tonic herbs include Siberian Ginseng and Schisandra. Schisandra has been shown to build non-specific resistance, improve brain function, increase work capacity and build strength.

Osha Root has been used traditionally by both the Chinese and Native Americans, (who called it Chuchupate), for increased immune function. Echinacea is a well researched and respected immune system stimulant. It helps increase the activity of white blood cells, which engulf invading microorganisms. Thuja is an herbal extract from the Northern White Cedar tree. It is a strong immune stimulant that Native Americans used for colds, coughs, bronchitis and other respiratory infections. Possibly the mushroom with the greatest capability of stimulating the immune system is the Maitake. Maitake contains specific chemical components that have been scientifically studied for their strong immune enhancing effects.

Oil Of Oregano(Origanum vulgare) is rich in vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A and C, Niacin, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, Potassium, Copper, Boron, and Manganese. In addition, the herb contains many active chemical constituents that provide beneficial support to our bodies, such as thymol and carvacrol. These components strongly discourage the growth of microorganisms, an action recognized by traditional herbalists throughout history as well as supported by modern scientific research. Oregano oil is exceptional in its ability to destroy many different kinds of microorganisms including bacteria, fungus, virus and parasites. Oregano oil has been shown in scientific studies to actively inhibit and destroy E. Coli, candida albacans and the bacterias that cause strep and staff infections. Unlike pharmaceutical drug antibiotics, oregano oil does not cause the development of resistant strains of bacteria. Although it is always possible for an individual to have an allergic reaction to any substance, there are no known adverse effects to oil of oregano.

The bitter compound, oleuropein, extracted from the olive leaf, has the capacity to destroy and inhibit the growth of an incredible array of pathogenic organisms, including bacteria , yeasts and viruses, such as the cold and flu virus, herpes, and even retro-viruses. Bacteria and parasites destroyed by oleuropein include planterum, E. coli and malariae, to name a few. Apparently, the old anti-malarial olive leaf and wine remedy had some merit! No toxic effects have been reported, even at high doses.

Rosemary ( Rosmarinus officinalis)has been used as an anti-infective agent since ancient times. Rosemary was regularly burned in hospitals and sick-rooms to purify the air and prevent infection. It was also used in courts to keep the judge and jurors from contracting plagues and fevers that the prisoners brought up from the dungeon. A sprig of Rosemary was also often carried at funerals. The aromatic oils of rosemary contain active essential oils, rosmarinic acid, phenolic acids and tannins with antioxidant and antimicrobial activities.

Thyme (Thymus) was used by the Greeks to keep venomous creatures away from the home. The Egyptians used it to mummify their dead, due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant activity. The thymus gland got its name from thyme, due to its similar structure to the thyme flower; interesting because both thyme and the thymus gland promote immune function. The principle components consist of phenol, thymol and carvacrol. An article in Chemical Abstracts in 1977 revealed that thymol’s antimicrobial activity is 20 times stronger than phenol.

Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, can be heard on radio daily. She is the author of several books, including THE NATURAL MEDICINE CHEST. Dr. Kamhi has been involved in natural health care for over 4 decades. She answers consumer questions at, and does private consultations. 800-829-0918


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