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Study reveals yoga may help children with cancer

Quality of life of patients doing yoga improved, according to the conclusions of “Results of a Pilot Yoga Intervention to Improve Pediatric Cancer Patients’ Quality of Life and Physical Activity and Parents’ Well-being”.

This study, published in the January 2017 issue of “Rehabilitation Oncology”, concluded: “Our findings support the notion that yoga for pediatric cancer patients during active treatment is feasible and potentially helpful in improving both patients’ and parents’ well-being.” It was undertaken by Dr. Andrea D. Orsey and her researcher-colleagues from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, University of Connecticut Hartford School of Medicine, University of Connecticut Storrs, Denmark’s LEGO Foundation and Connecticut’s Center for Public Health and Health Policy.

The yoga sessions in the study were reportedly designed to teach yoga as a form of integrative therapy for pain management, fatigue, stress, anxiety, and overall helpfulness to improve the quality of life. These included breathing, yoga asanas, relaxation, meditation and savasana.

The authors wrote: We found preliminary evidence that participating in yoga was associated with increased social and emotional health-related quality of life. Yoga is desired by many patients and their parents, and it appears that it may be helpful. Our study contributes to the growing body of literature suggesting the helpfulness of yoga in the context of pediatric cancer patients.

Meanwhile, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, called this study, undertaken by Connecticut and Denmark researchers looking into the possible usage of yoga for pediatric cancer patients, “a step in the positive direction”. Zed urged all major world schools of medicine to explore various benefits yoga offered.

Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.

Rajan Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to a “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image.  Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.

Writing about the purpose of this study, authors wrote: Yoga is increasingly proving beneficial in improving distress, pain, physical activity, and health-related quality of life in adult patients with cancer. We aimed to study the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a yoga intervention for pediatric cancer patients in active treatment and for their families.

Authors also wrote: According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 10,380 children living in the United States younger than 15 years receive a diagnosis of cancer annually. Yoga may be especially helpful for cancer patients, given that it can be practiced anywhere and is easily modifiable to physical limitations by accommodating yoga in a hospital bed, chair, or wheelchair. The growing body of literature suggests that yoga may be helpful for pediatric cancer patients in active treatment.

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