Yoga Increases Resources to Deal with the Stress of Cancer

By: 
Jessica Smith Soto

Yoga has long been known to help with stress relief, and several studies on yoga for cancer patients have indicated positive effects of yoga in cancer patients.

Now there is even stronger support: A recent meta-analysis compiling the results of individual studies conducted by different researchers concluded that indeed yoga has a lot to offer as a supplemental treatment of cancer.

Psychological health is a key factor in the quality of life in a cancer patient. Cancer patients deal not only with the painful process of cancer treatments, but are often faced with other common side effects such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and overall stress. Psychological health in cancer survivors is determined both by the stress and burden posed by the cancer experience as well as the resources available for coping with this stress and burden.

Yoga appears to help cancer patients by increasing their coping skills and providing an additional resource to manage the stress of cancer. Yoga for cancer has been most effective in relieving feelings of anxiety, depression, distress and stress. The benefits of yoga are not specific to a certain type of cancer, as the results within various kinds of cancer are the same. Yoga can be used as a supplemental treatment throughout the cancer process.

Women battling cancer, who practice yoga typically report that the yoga practices gives them higher levels of invigoration and acceptance, and reduces pain and fatigue.  A study from the Graduate School Medicine at the University of Tokyo looking at the benefit of yoga as part of an overall mindfulness and stress reduction program concluded that yoga improved cancer sufferers’ psychosocial adjustment to their disease. An adjusted attitude and decreased stress can make a world of difference in a patient with daily health pains and struggles.