by Anne Pitman
Care Coordinator and Yoga Therapist
Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre
If you have ever had a great yoga class, you will remember the obvious feeling of well-being and calm, during and after the class. Yoga is well known for stretching, breathing and good vibes; but, the scientific evidence is also mounting to show a range of health benefits for people living with cancer. For example, recent evidence shows that yoga practice consistently decreases distress, anxiety, depression and fatigue1 and increases quality of life and well-being2,3. In other words, people feel remarkably better for practicing yoga. A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology supports these results, and shows something new and important: yoga practice also reduces inflammation in the body4.
This Patient Monograph was produced by the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre.
What is Acupuncture?
The insertion of fine needles into the surface of the skin at specific points on the body.
What is it used for?
To improve symptoms associated with cancer and cancer treatment including:
- Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting
- Sleep disturbances
- Anxiety and depression
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Hot flashes (due to breast and prostate cancer treatment)
- Radiation-induced xerostomia/dry mouth (due to head and neck cancer treatment)
by Terry Vida, Cancer Survivor
I have known for some time that practitioners of traditional and naturopathic medicine have different ways of assessing health and illness. But it wasn’t until I embarked on my journey through breast cancer that I experienced the difference firsthand.
by Marlene and Bob Neufeld
Studies have demonstrated increased survival for married people diagnosed with cancer over single people. On the other hand, a cancer diagnosis can be emotionally hard on both the person with the diagnosis and the spouse, as well as threaten the relationship. Any unresolved patterns or issues between couples will be exacerbated by stress, and a cancer diagnosis is a huge stress.
We are a couple who work as a therapist team helping couples create closer loving connections. One of the important ways couples connect is through their sexuality. When Bob was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006 we used all the skills we taught other couples to ensure that our sexual relationship stayed strong throughout the cancer journey.
by Colleen Kanna, Cancer Survivor
There is no doubt about it, hearing the words, “You have cancer” is devastating. You think how did this happen to me? I’ve always led a healthy lifestyle with exercise, healthy diet, no smoking…but here I was…a statistic…one in nine women will get breast cancer in their lifetime.
After the initial shock and disbelief, my husband and I got down to business…doing research. We wanted to know what else I could do, along with conventional therapy, to help minimize the side effects of treatment and fight the cancer. Complementary therapies, like acupuncture, massage therapy, restorative yoga, and meditation became part of my regime to help me through the treatments and put me on the road to recovery. Thankfully, I did get through the treatments despite the many side effects.
by Tamara Levine
It would be an understatement to say I was catapulted into another world when I went from being a healthy 58-year old adult educator, wife and mother to being a breast cancer patient in 2009. As the seismic shift took over my body, my sense of self, and my place in the world, I wondered: Will I die? How will I cope with treatment? Who am I now? What happens next?