Alternative Therapy - Yoga

What is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient mind-body health system that began in India more than 5,000 years ago. It has been used in the United States since the 1800s. Yoga means union--a union of the mind, body, and spirit--and uses slow movement, precise posture, meditation, and breathing exercises to reach a state of relaxation.

Can yoga help people with cancer?

As a complementary therapy, yoga can create a sense of well-being, improve the quality of life, provide relaxation, and reduce stress for some patients with cancer. Yoga can be useful to relieve some symptoms associated with cancer; however, scientific evidence does not support yoga as an effective treatment for cancer or any other disease. Several comprehensive cancer care centers offer yoga as a complementary therapy.

How does yoga work?

Yoga classes may be offered at a cancer center, as an adult education class, or in health clubs and community centers in your area. Also, you may consider using an instructional book or videotape to learn proper yoga exercises and techniques.

Each yoga program is unique, however, some of the basic techniques are the same and include the following:

Are there any possible problems or complications associated with yoga?

To date, no scientific evidence exists that states that yoga can affect cancer or any other disease. However, there are two things to consider about yoga before you begin:

Yoga, as an addition to your cancer treatment plan, has the potential to be pleasant and productive, but should not replace the care and treatment provided by your cancer care team. Always consult your doctor for more information.

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