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Courageous Touch: Yoga And Thai Massage For Chronic Sufferers

The following is a guest post written by Jillian McKee.

As more people embrace holistic therapies for improving health and fighting disease, yoga and massage are becoming more common among cancer patients and other chronic sufferers.

Yoga and massage therapies combine ancient philosophies with modern techniques to ease symptoms and optimize treatment effectiveness.

While most health practitioners do not endorse these therapies as a cure for cancer or a treatment for disease, they do support them as effective complementary therapies.

Many cancer treatment centers now offer yoga classes and massage sessions for cancer patients. And persons with other chronic diseases are utilizing their benefits as well.

Yoga and massage offer a courageous touch for the people who need it most. It has proven helpful for even those with the most aggressive cancers such as mesothelioma.

Hatha Yoga

Used in cancer therapy and other disease treatments, yoga can be a useful practice. A non-aerobic exercise that focuses on breathing techniques, meditation, and precise posture, yoga has been shown to relieve cancer symptoms and treatment side effects.

While no scientific evidence supports yoga as cancer cure or disease treatment, many medical professionals now recommend the practice in conjunction with conventional treatments.

Not only does yoga help patients cope with their symptoms and side effects, but also it greatly enhances their quality of life.

Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that combines physical movements, nutritional guidelines, ethical standards, and meditation to promote whole healing.

The very word “yoga” means “union,” and the practice unites mind, body, and spirit. While yoga has many different forms, the American Cancer Society (ACS) says that hatha yoga is the form most used in cancer therapies.

It is a low-impact therapy that involves gentle movements that most patients can easily handle. Very effective for relieving physical symptoms and side effects (weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and loss of appetite), yoga can also ease the emotional and mental stress of disease (anxiety, stress, depression, and hopelessness).

Thai Massage

Thai Massage is a form of massage therapy that dates back through many centuries. The benefits for cancer patients and other chronic sufferers are similar to those of yoga.

Unlike yoga, however, Thai Massage requires no exertion on the patient’s part. Asians have used massage for thousands of years as a means to treat illness and boost the immune system.

Introduced to the United States in the late 20th century, Thai Massage relieves muscle aches, joint pain, emotional stress, mental depression, and it activates internal energy flow.

Cancer patients and others might want to see if their health care providers are open minded and willing to discuss holistic treatments like yoga and Thai massage as part of a treatment plan.

No therapy can guarantee success, holistic or conventional. However a major advantage of holistic therapies is that they generally carry no risks or minimal risks for patients.

Performed by qualified and experienced therapists, Thai Massage may have tremendous benefits for people undergoing medical treatments for cancer and other illnesses. Like hatha yoga, Thai Massage strengthens the body and mind, promotes overall well-being, and provides a better quality of life.

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Jillian McKee is a yoga enthusiast and cancer activist. She works as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma CancerAlliance. Her time is spent mostly on outreach efforts and spreading information on complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer treatment. You can contact her at and check out the Cancer Alliance at @canceralliance on Twitter and

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