The emotional and physical challenges of malignant mesothelioma put significant strain on patients and caregivers alike. As is true in so many stressful situations, it is easy for people who truly care about each other to lose patience and snap. Now a National Institute of Health-funded study is suggesting that yoga can not only offer patients a boost in their overall physical function and stamina, but it can also boost mental health for caregivers and patients alike.
The small study did not specifically look at mesothelioma patients: instead it involved 26 advanced lung cancer patients and their caregivers. It was conducted by Kathrin Milbury, an assistant professor of palliative care and rehabilitation medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Most of those in the study engaged in 12 sessions that focused on meditation, physical postures and breathing exercises.
The study’s details were presented at a conference highlighting studies into various palliative methodologies, and though Milbury pointed out that she is not suggesting that yoga provides more physical benefits for patients suffering from lung cancer or other cancers like mesothelioma than other forms of exercise, she did say, “We tried to look at one way to boost patient and caregiver well-being, both physically and mentally, as a means to enhance supportive care. It is never too late to engage in exercise, and we know from earlier studies that people can exercise while being treated with chemotherapy or radiation.
One thing that should be particularly helpful for mesothelioma caregivers is the fact that yoga can help address some of the most common stress-related issues that they face.”Caregivers sometimes have more anxiety and sleeping problems than patients. Therefore, we thought that having the patient and caregiver go through yoga instruction together would be beneficial for both partners,” Milbury explained. Their study found that the patient participants who practiced yoga had greater stamina and higher scores on walking tests, while caregivers also reported improved stamina and less fatigue.
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or are providing care for a mesothelioma patient, finding ways to relieve stress is essential. For information on how we can help, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.