After detection of cancer and start of medications, it is obvious for a patient to feel distressed. However, it is not the time to lose hope. One must engage in activities that help reduce the stress and maintain proper body function. Yoga and meditation are the best ways.
According to various studies, structured yoga practice during cancer treatments can help remove fatigue and pain. Following are the ways how yoga can benefit patients.
- Manage depression, fear, and anxiety: Due to emotional strain, patients might develop depression and fear of death. Yogic breathing helps by positively affecting the immune system, reducing psychological or stress-related disorders and correcting autonomic nervous system imbalances.
- Boost the mood: Exercising or yoga produces endorphins which improve the mood. Depending on the stage of cancer, body strength, and type of medications undertaken, yoga exercises can be designed. It also elevates levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter that regulates the nervous system.
- Manage physical pain:Patients who do yoga and meditation become less sensitive to pain and thus, can tolerate the treatment.
- Support of Yoga community:Being in the company of people helps in making the pain and stress, bearable. Meeting with the people in the yoga community and interacting with them helps in gaining the sense of normalcy and security.
Meditation helps in getting clarity of thoughts, insight, and peace of mind, which may improve your wellbeing and health. It helps in reducing anxiety and stress. It also helps in controlling problems like:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling sick
- High blood pressure
Different types of meditation that can be done are:
This can be done while sitting. One needs to bring awareness back to present when it starts shifting to daydreaming or distraction. Breathing can be used as an anchor.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction
This is a 8-week program which basically focuses on increasing awareness about the body sensations. Proper breathing helps in good blood circulation. People have been vocal about the refreshing feeling after the program.
In this method, an object, like flower or candle flame, is used to bring attention back to the present. This helps the mind to focus better, which is an important part of meditation.
In this process, specific images are to be formed in mind. Imagination is focused on them to create pictures or images for a specific reason, such as to relieve symptoms of cancer or to relax.
In this, a specific word or phrase (mantra) is to be repeated. It helps to increase energy and lower stress level. It also helps to develop concentration and focus the mind. Thus, this provides energy to the patients to cope up with the high doses of Oncology Drugs and other treatments.
A meditation teacher, CD or sound file directs attention in a particular direction. The aim is relaxation. Scenes like walking in a park, or beach, etc. are visualized. By imagining things that make a person happy, helps in gaining emotional strength and incorporating a positive attitude that is essential to fight cancer.