Yoga helps cancer patients

DALLAS — Dr. Jaya Juturi prescribes plenty of medications for her cancer patients, but she would be remiss, she said, if she stopped there.

Which is why the Dallas oncologist also suggests a treatment not found in any pharmacy: yoga.

We’re supposed to practice a certain way and tell people what’s proven to help them,” said Juturi, who is on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. “If we didn’t bring up yoga in the context of emotional or physical distress, we’re not doing our job.

If we said, ‘See a counselor and take medicine,’ that might be meaningful, but we need to create an empowering long-term strategy that will bring them everlasting results.”

The medical field has been “late in catching on to” such complementary treatments, Juturi said. Now data has begun backing up the effectiveness of yoga, and doctors, she said, “are all about data.”

Benefits

Medically proven benefits include these:

Yoga helps ease stress. Research from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center showed, among other benefits, yoga’s ability to regulate the stress hormone cortisol.

Yoga helps cancer patients sleep better. A study published in Journal of Clinical Oncology reported improved sleep quality in cancer survivors and thus, fewer sleep medications needed.

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Yoga is empowering, she said.

It’s seeing how people can overcome limitations of the mind and what their doctor told them, limitations of what society tells them and what their illness tells them.”

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