The Benefits of Yoga for Breast Cancer Patients

Has breast cancer has affected you or someone you know?

Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women. More than one in four cancers in women (about 28 percent) are breast cancer. About one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

Women with breast cancer undergo extreme physical, mental and emotional stress, all of which weakens the immune system.

As we look to more natural treatments for cancer and other serious diseases, alternative medicines and ways of life for cancer patients are quickly gaining notoriety in America.

Why Practice Yoga

A yoga research study on 126 women revealed that those practicing regular yoga exercise experienced a 12 percent improvement in physical weakness, physical functioning and quality of life, unlike those in the program who did not take yoga classes.

Yoga lessons were also shown to lower the stress levels and enhance the sense of well-being in breast cancer patients.

In this study, yoga proved to enable women to handle the unpleasant effects of surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiation. These women felt more relaxed, and the breathing exercises were especially helpful for dealing with nausea.

While the use of yoga is not an alternative treatment or cure for cancer, it is an effective complementary therapy treatment due to its meditative practices, breathing exercises, stretching poses and movements.

Yoga experts say that stretching and contracting muscles helps stimulate the flow of lymph, ridding our bodies of the fluid that collects waste.

The largest clusters of lymph nodes are in the armpits, next to the breasts. Poses that involve placing the feet over the head improve general circulation.

After a lumpectomy, poses that free up the shoulder area also help the healing process, although any gentle yoga practice will help.

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