Yoga is an ancient lifestyle practice that uses a series of movements and poses (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation to allow a deeper connection to Self. The word yoga means “to join” or “union.”
Yoga focuses on joining the Body, Mind, Breath and Spirit together in harmony and focus, without mental distractions.
Yoga has been practised for thousands of years. Strict followers of the discipline observe a number of beliefs and practices, including ethics, dietary guidelines and spirituality.
Yoga can help people living with cancer relieve their anxiety and depression. It’s also been shown to increase a sense of spiritual well-being and may also potentially help with fatigue or sleeping problems.
Yoga is great for children with cancer because it is one of the integrative therapies that could involve both patients and their loved ones in a more hands-on approach.
Yoga also allows the Child with Cancer around 45 minutes away from their illness; time to once again be the child they are meant to be, and not a cancer patient. Yoga can also benefit the mother/caregiver as they are also given the freedom to be a playful and carefree for a while and to enjoy being with the child in almost normal circumstances, as opposed to being a full-time carer.
Terms applied to therapies not commonly included in mainstream medicine have repeatedly changed over time, evolving from a very negative “quackery” through “unorthodox,” “unconventional,” “questionable,” “unproven,” and “alternative.”
Current, but still evolving, terminology favours “complementary” and “alternative” medicine, or the acronym of both: CAM.
To understand how a complementary therapy may be used, it helps to understand what we mean by conventional cancer treatments and complementary therapies.
Conventional cancer treatments or mainstream cancer treatments are the treatments currently accepted and widely used in the majority of healthcare systems and include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Complementary Therapies are used as adjuncts to (together with) mainstream cancer care. They are supportive measures that control symptoms, enhance well-being, and contribute to overall patient care.
Alternative Therapies typically are promoted for use instead of mainstream treatment. Approaches that may be offered as alternative therapies range from visualisation to diet and prayer, and products such as vitamin supplements, herbal and homeopathic medicines.
Integrative Cancer Care is an approach that combines conventional cancer treatments and complementary therapies throughout the cancer journey. It’s based on the idea that as long as you’re watched carefully for what happens when the treatments are given at the same time, conventional cancer treatments and complementary therapies can work well together.