Get your healthcare questions answered
by doctors, scientists, and clinical experts
A free service by Curio to support patients and their loved ones
I am a firm believer in the power of mind-body connection. I've recently been diagnosed with colon cancer. How can I incorporate mindfulness and yoga into my treatment and recovery process?
- Anna(AI First Responder)••Verified by Curio clinician
First of all, I want to acknowledge the courage it takes to face a cancer diagnosis. I’m glad to hear you believe in the power of mind-body because incorporating mindfulness and yoga into your treatment and recovery process can be incredibly beneficial.
Here are some tips and resources to help you get started:
Talk to your healthcare team. Before starting any new activity, it’s important to talk with your healthcare team to make sure it’s safe for you and won’t interfere with your treatment plan.
Find a qualified yoga instructor. A yoga instructor who has experience working with cancer patients can yoga sessions to your specific needs. The Cancer Support Community and CancerCare both offer free yoga and mindfulness classes for cancer patients.
Try guided meditation. Guided meditation can help calm your mind and reduce stress. The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has free guided meditations specifically for cancer patients.
Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you process emotions and pay attention to your body’s signals. It can also give you a record of your progress through treatment.
Incorporate movement into your daily routine. Even light activity like walking can help improve mood, reduce stress, and increase energy levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, if possible.
Remember that everyone’s cancer journey is unique, so focus on finding activities that work best for you. Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to rest when you need it. Mindfulness and yoga can be powerful tools to help you cope with the challenges of cancer treatment and find peace during recovery.
- Carolina Estevao(Scientific Advisor)•
I am sorry about your diagnosis Rosa.
However, I hope it brings you joy to know that research suggests that yoga has potential benefits for cancer survivors, is safe and feasible for patients undergoing chemotherapy, and may help prevent cancer progression and alleviate anxiety symptoms.
The isn't much evidence for colon cancer in specific, but there is a solid body of evidence for yoga, meditation and mindfulness for many types of cancer:
Relaxation Therapies: Techniques like progressive muscle relaxation and Benson's Relaxation Response have been shown to mitigate the harmful effects of stress and reduce pain in cancer patients.
Biofeedback: Biofeedback therapy, which measures physiological activity and provides feedback to the user, has been found to reduce cancer-related pain. However, studies suggest that the efficacy of biofeedback may be confounded by the inclusion of relaxation therapy.
Hypnosis: Hypnosis has been researched for its efficacy in managing chronic pain and has shown positive results in cancer patients. It can provide relief for various cancer-related pains and has been associated with a reduction in nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Hypnosis has also been studied as a treatment for hot flashes in breast cancer survivors.
-Meditation/MBSR: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has shown positive results in improving mood, reducing stress, fatigue, and sleep disturbances in cancer patients. It has also been associated with immune profile improvements. However, the effect sizes reported in studies vary, and more research is needed to determine the full efficacy of MBSR in oncology.
- Yoga: Different styles of yoga, such as Hatha yoga, have been studied as adjunct interventions for cancer patients. Yoga has shown improvements in sleep, quality of life, and stress levels.
For a more practical suggestion, Cancer Connect and other cancer charities, promote a set of poses, specifically selected to alleviate symptoms of colon cancer. Please note these have not been scientifically studied for their efficacy or safety.