International Yoga Day!

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Photo: At the end of today’s home yoga practice, I had a play with my headstands.

Happy International Yoga Day! I LOVE yoga! I make an effort to practice yoga at least 2-3 times a week either at home or in my local studio (which is amazing, if you are a Whakatane local, check out Mind Body Movement here.) My body really feels it when I start to slip up on my yoga practice: I feel more anxious, stiff, tired and generally cranky! I can always tell when I need to pick up my practice again.

But does yoga have REAL benefits? I mean its just stretching and breathing, right? Wrong!

Yoga is a practice that targets your mind, body and spirit. The practice of Yoga involves:

  • pranayama (working with breathing)
  • stretching and strengthening exercises
  • asanas (postures) and,
  • active and passive meditation.

According to the yogic view, yoga can improve your health by: stimulating your nervous system, improving strength and flexibility, relaxing your mind and body and, improving your oxygen and blood supply.

Yoga has been shown to have specific benefits for people with cancer. Cancer and its treatment have many side-effects including: anxiety and depression, fatigue or tiredness, difficulty sleeping and a lack of feelings of wellness. In a recent review (July 2017), it was found that yoga can improve psychological well-being by:

  • reducing feelings of anxiety
  • reducing feelings of depression and,
  • improving health-related quality of life.

Studies have also shown that regular yoga practice can improve symptoms related to cancer and its treatment, including:

  • fatigue
  • sleep disturbances
  • nausea and vomiting and,
  • pain

With all of these benefits, it seems like a no-brainer! Especially since when done correctly, there are very few risks associated with yoga. If you have never done yoga before, make sure you ask a health professional if it is safe for you to practice and then find a qualified teacher near you. If you have experience with yoga and are familiar with the postures, here is a great on-line resource for you!

One of my future goals is to become a certified yoga teacher. I hope to achieve this goal in the next 1-2 years so that I can bring one on one yoga sessions to my clients. Head on over to our facebook page to let us know how much you love yoga!

 

References:
Cancer Research UK – Yoga

Role of Yoga in Cancer Patients: Expectations, Benefits and Risks: A Review. Published July 2017 in the Indian Journal of Palliative Care. See full article here.

Endorsements:
Energize Physiotherapy receives no monetary compensation from promoting either Mind Body Movement Studio or Do Yoga With Me.

Exciting News Alert!

Will this position statement force Governments to fund exercise programs for people with Cancer? 

Last week, the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) released a position statement on exercise in cancer care. The long and short of it is, they are recommending that prescribed exercise should be a standard part of the cancer treatment pathway.

Their three main recommendations were:

  • Exercise to be embedded as part of standard practice in cancer care and to be viewed as an adjunct therapy that helps counteract the adverse effects of cancer and its treatment.
  • All members of the multidisciplinary cancer team to promote physical activity and recommend people with cancer adhere to exercise guidelines.
  • Best practice cancer care to include referral to an accredited exercise physiologist and/or physiotherapist with experience in cancer care.

For many years now, research has shown that exercise before, during and after treatments for cancer has many benefits. Including: decreased treatment side-effects, increase ability to complete treatment, improved quality of life, and decreased levels of fatigue.

It is so exciting to see an organization like COSA making these recommendations. Hopefully we will see similar position statements coming out from other organisations around the world. And when we do, hopefully Government funded programs will not be far behind!

If you would like to read COSA’s position statement, you can find it here.

Are you interested in finding out more about how exercise can help you? Do you believe that all people diagnosed with cancer should have access to safe, prescribed, exercise programs? Do you believe these programs should be Government funded?

Leave a comment on my Facebook Page and let me know if you think that Governments should provide funding for exercise programs for people with cancer.

Why Energize?

So it turns out, coming up with a business name is pretty hard. I had a few really good options early on, but none of them felt right. My partner kept encouraging me to wait until I found “the one”. After all, it is best to do it right the first time!

When I thought of “Energize Physiotherapy” (spelt the American way deliberately for added ‘pizzaz’), it was like something in my heart just clicked. As I hope you’ve realised if you have reached this point, my focus area for Physiotherapy is Cancer Rehabilitation. It is something that I have wanted to do since before becoming a physiotherapist. The potential to help people is astounding. I chose Energize because one of the symptoms with the biggest impact on individuals with cancer, at any stage, is fatigue. Physical activity is the only thing that has been shown to consistently improve symptoms of fatigue, and can be anything from walking, to doing yoga or pilates, to doing a gym based work-out. Whatever your interests and goals are, I will work with you to develop an activity program that is right for you.

So I guess my business name is also my mission statement. By using the skills I have gained as a physiotherapist, I want to help you recharge, energize and get back to doing the things that you love to do!

 

What is Cancer Rehabilitation?

Cancer rehabilitation is not just about exercise. Your treatment may include:

  • Breathing re-training
  • Fatigue management and energy conservation strategies
  • Manual therapy techniques
  • Scar tissue management
  • Post-op rehabilitation
  • Liaising with your medical team for return to work planning
  • Individualized exercise programs
  • Education about sleep hygiene
  • Mindfulness and meditation

Ashley will take a holistic approach to your treatment and look at how your cancer and your cancer treatments have affected all aspects of your life. Because of advances in medical treatments, more people are living for longer after a cancer diagnosis. Ashley can help you to do more than just survive your cancer, she can help you improve your quality of life and start doing activities that are meaningful to you again. Ashley will work with you to determine your goals and will develop a treatment plan that meets your needs. Cancer rehabilitation can start at any time after your diagnosis, you do not need to wait for your other treatments to finish!