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Yoga and Mesothelioma

Yoga may be useful to help ease some symptoms of mesothelioma and other diseases. Yoga is a form of exercise that involves breathing techniques, meditation, movement and precise posture. It is one of several complementary and alternative therapies for mesothelioma patients.

Gentle yoga may improve your physical fitness, provide stress relief and enhance your quality of life as you undergo mesothelioma treatment. Before you enroll in a yoga class, you should talk to your doctor about how yoga or another exercise program may fit with your mesothelioma treatment.

Yoga Among Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Mesothelioma

The side effects of cancer treatment can be debilitating for people living with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma patients may struggle with the side effects of chemotherapy and suffer insomnia and sleep problems. There is a growing body of research indicating that relaxation-based techniques can contribute to the health of cancer patients. Gentle yoga postures and focused breathing exercise may make your feel strong, more relaxed, increase your lung capacity and make you feel more confident.

A 2011 scientific study by researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas found yoga offered unique benefits beyond just fighting fatigue for cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer. While simple stretching exercises improved fatigue, patients who incorporated yoga breathing, postures and meditation into their cancer treatment experienced improved physical function, better general health and lower levels of stress hormones.

Doctors said the combination of mind and body practices that are part of yoga have a tremendous potential to help patients handle the stress associated with cancer treatment. A 2010 study funded by the National Cancer Institute and overseen by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York found that cancer patients who participated in a twice-a-week yoga class saw greater improvements in their sleep, reduced need for sleeping medication and reduction in fatigue compared to patients who didn’t take yoga. By the end of the clinical trial, a third of the cancer patients taking yoga no longer had disrupted sleep, twice the recovery rate as for patients who didn’t take the class. Karen Mustian, lead author of the study and assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University of Rochester Medical Center said doctors should feel comfortable prescribing gentle hatha yoga stretching and breathing exercises to patients.

Yoga is a common form of complementary supportive therapy for cancer patients. Unfortunately, most health insurance companies don’t cover the cost of yoga classes for cancer patients. Mesothelioma patients should talk to their doctors before starting any type of exercise program that involves movement of joints and muscles.

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