How Yoga Is Helping Kids with Cancer

How Yoga Is Helping Kids with Cancer

Subscribe to Outside+ now to get unique access to all of our content, including sequences, instructor tips, video lessons, and much more. The cornflower-blue sleeper couch is a nice touch. The closet made of formica. I hear the tea cart clattering by. As a mother of a little boy with acute myeloid leukemia, Jaymee Jiao will never forget the eight months she spent living in this hospital room with her son Savior-Makani Jiao as he received round-the-clock therapy. However, the exuberant two-and-a-half-year-old is now in remission, and he has returned to his previous bedroom at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, where he used to go to in a red plastic Radio Flyer.

It’s true: Savior’s energy is currently sufficient to power a turbine.

You’d never believe that he was having chemotherapy on a full-time basis just a year ago.

She appears to be exhausted, yet she maintains a cheery demeanor.

  1. ‘I deal with my stress physically,’ she replies, shrugging her shoulders.
  2. “Your shoulder is starting to look better!” Fautsch offers encouragement.
  3. I ask her how yoga has helped her with her shoulder and back discomfort, and she says it has.
  4. Because of the demands of school drop-offs, shuttle-running her children to sports practices, and chasing Savior around the home, Jiao hasn’t been able to maintain a consistent yoga practice since she moved into this room.
  5. CHRISTOPHER DOUGHERTY is a writer based in New York City.
  6. The program is free and open to all cancer patients and their families.
  7. He was 32 years old at the time.

In addition to visiting the hospital’s oncology unit three days a week, volunteer yoga teachers such as Fautsch, many of whom are health-care professionals who specialize in yoga for cancer recovery, also visit the hospital’s cancer recovery unit three days a week, going from bed to bed to offer individualized sessions to whoever happens to be in the room—whether it’s patients, families, or friendly visitors.

Sessions normally run around 30 minutes and might include anything from pranayama and meditation in bed to asana on colored mats that are wheeled in by volunteers from outside the building.

Julia is now thriving in remission after having surgical tumor excision, six rounds of frontline chemotherapy, followed by immunotherapy, as well as plenty of yoga and bedside dance parties (the music of the 1980s and 1990s was the jam), thanks to the treatment she has received.

Aside from hair loss, the most frequent adverse effects are nausea and vomiting, difficulty breathing, nerve damage (neuropathy), and a reduced immune system.

The ability to demonstrate yoga’s absolute potential through standardized clinical studies is practically difficult in a health-research context, however: According to her, “everyone’s cancer experience is distinct, and their demands and symptoms vary.” When it comes to cancer patients, it’s one thing to understand which yoga approaches are appropriate, but having everyone follow a script—this position, this exercise—that will never fully illustrate the entire advantages of yoga is another.

However, according to the findings of a 2019 clinical feasibility study that looked at the impact of yoga on pediatric outpatients receiving chemotherapy, the results of two recent pilot studies found that individualized yoga programs improved quality of life for adolescents receiving cancer treatment.

  • According to Bethel, the majority of the data for yoga’s therapeutic advantages has come from breast cancer clinical trials to date.
  • Her experience was “mind-blowing,” she adds.
  • They appeared to be less worried.
  • When Fukuhara and the other yoga teachers on the ward were making their rounds, they kept meticulous notebooks with dated notes noting patient status, yoga exercises performed, and outcomes of the exercises.
  • “We came up with a number of possibilities.” What followed was a six-month study of 32 children and their families, who were polled before and after participating in yoga classes.
  • See alsoHow One Yogi Doctor Used Ayurveda to Treat His Own Cancer, which can be found here.
  • According to Fukuhara, many chemotherapy medicines are known to depress the neurological system.

She discovered that power poses such asVirabhadrasanas (Warrior Poses) andVrksasana (Tree Pose), which stimulate the nervous system, made her patients more resistant to the negative side effects of their medications, according to her research, which she co-authored with pediatric oncology nurse practitioner Jeanie Spies.

  • In some ways, her bright red hair feels like an extension of her personality: she gets excited about things like bone marrow biopsies and seeing a patient take their first steps (she grinned as she recounted Savior’s as he bounced about the room).
  • “When they are diagnosed with cancer, we completely turn their lives upside down,” Spies explains.
  • Ping Cao has a delicate and fragile-looking physique, but don’t be misled by her appearance.
  • Originally from China, the immigrant now works as a volunteer yoga instructor for the O’Shea Foundation after completing treatment for breast cancer.
  • The strength she has gained from the practice and from the support of other cancer survivors, she claims, is what inspired her to begin volunteering at Rady Children’s Hospital in 2014.
  • Today, she is sitting in a little teal chair next to Aimee De Luna’s hospital bed, who is 17 years old.
  • Initially, her pediatrician suspected anemia; however, blood testing proved she had leukemia.
  • She is smiling and sitting up still in her hospital gown, a gray beanie perched atop her head, while Cao leads her through a bedside meditation and stretching practice.
  • “The first time she asked whether I wanted to do it, I said a resounding No,” De Luna recalls with a giggle.
  • She also likes spending time with Cao.

“However, I may say, “Here I am.” The same thing happened to me. I was experiencing all of these challenges physically and mentally, and I practiced yoga. It was beneficial. And now, I’m still alive, and I’m confident that you will be as well.'”

Yoga is a fun way to promote relaxation and mindfulness.

Yoga is a wonderful technique to encourage relaxation and awareness while having a good time. It may be a fun and non-intrusive activity to undertake with your children in a secure environment. Yoga is suitable for children of all ages and skills; it may be made simpler or more hard depending on the needs of the participants. According to both the American Cancer Society and the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, practicing yoga may be beneficial for children who are undergoing cancer treatment to help them cope with their symptoms.

Some of Yoga’s Benefits May Include:

  • Pain alleviation
  • Relaxation
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved strength
  • Improved endurance
  • Reduced danger of falling
  • Reduced tiredness

Yoga should not be used in place of medical therapy or suggestions from doctors or other health-care professionals for children who are suffering from cancer. Before beginning any new exercise – even yoga – with your kid, consult with your child’s doctor. You can inquire with your child’s physical therapist, doctor, or other members of the care team about yoga and other alternatives.

Yoga Poses for Kids and Parents

Yoga can be beneficial to parents and other caregivers, as well as children. It can aid in the management of stress as well as the improvement of both mental and physical well-being. Yoga poses are the positions in which you hold your body when doing yoga. In case you and your child are interested in trying yoga, here are some basic positions to get you started. It is better if you follow the directions carefully. It is possible to visualize things by looking at a book or watching internet videos.

Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is a yoga position for relaxation.

  • Begin by getting down on your hands and knees
  • Put your hips back over your heels and relax your shoulders. Allow your upper body to hang down until your forehead touches the floor, if at all feasible. Extend your arms over your head

Tree Pose

Tree position is a posture that helps you to maintain your balance.

  • Maintain a straight posture
  • Lift either your left or right leg until the sole of your foot lands on the calf, ankle, or thigh of the leg that you are lifting. (Begin at your ankle and work your way up only if you’re stable. Avoid putting your elevated foot across your knee or ankle. As much as you are able, raise your arms over your head and maintain your equilibrium. If you need assistance holding tree position, you can lean against a wall or sit on a chair.

Cat / Cow Pose

This calming position might assist you in stretching tight muscles.

  • Begin by getting down on your hands and knees. It is possible to make it more comfortable by placing blankets beneath your knees. Allow your tummy to relax as you lift you head toward the ceiling and take a long, deep breath in. As you glance down toward the floor, take a long breath out and arch your back like a “Halloween cat.” Repeat the process numerous times.

Yoga is about cultivating awareness, increasing flexibility, and relaxing the body and mind. Whatever postures you choose, remember to have fun with them.

Yoga Books for Kids

  • Christiane Engel’s ABC Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Wake-Up Story is a wake-up story told in the form of a yoga sequence. Kristen Fischer’s Zoo Zen: A Yoga Story for Kids is a yoga story for children. Susi Schaefer is a woman who works in the fashion industry. You Have the Strength of a Lion! Taeeun Yoo’s “And Other Fun Yoga Poses” is a collection of fun yoga poses. Yoga for a Good Morning by Mariam Gates is a wake up story told in the form of a series of poses. Sarah Jane Hinder is a woman who lives in the United States.

Yoga Games for Kids and Teens

  • The ThinkFun Yoga Spinner Game | Amazon
  • The ThinkFun Memory Yoga Game | Mercari
  • YOGI Kit Yoga Card Game | Amazon
  • ALEX Active Yoga Kids Exercise Mat | Amazon
  • Yoga Pretzels | Amazon
  • The ThinkFun Yoga Spinner Game | Mercari
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It is important to note that Together does not promote any of the branded products featured in this post.

Yoga 4 Kids With Cancer

When a group of teachers from the Sean O’Shea Foundation began conducting an unique yoga program at Rady Children’s Hospital for pediatric cancer patients and their caregivers in October 2011, they were called the Sean O’Shea Foundation. We refer to them as the “Dream Team” for a variety of reasons, including their altruistic dedication, but also because the individual sessions they do with the children frequently result in the youngsters falling asleep! This is a good consequence, as opposed to what would happen in a conventional yoga session, because children who have been diagnosed with cancer often suffer symptoms of stress and worry that can interfere with their sleep patterns, which in turn can interfere with their healing.

  1. Parents and carers are strongly invited to participate.
  2. For the past three years, the SOSF Dream Team has been making three weekly visits to the children at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.
  3. Yoga Journal publishes an article on how yoga might benefit children with cancer.
  4. It’s difficult to express in a single paragraph all of the benefits that the Sean O’Shea Foundation yoga program has brought to Rady High School.
  5. The introduction to yoga provided by this program is often the first time many families have ever experienced it, and it serves to open doors to another profound form of healing and relaxation.
  6. In addition to providing them with vital tools to manage their symptoms and the side effects of the extensive medical procedures that they are undergoing, the Sean O’Shea Foundation teachers teach them how to breathe and do yoga positions.
  7. Earlier this week, I spoke with a 10-year-old child who indicated that the yoga sessions helped him to be less apprehensive and to calm his concerns while he was recently admitted to the hospital for a month.
  8. Thank you so much for everything you do to make our children’s lives easier; your commitment is truly appreciated!

Thank you very much to everyone. Jeanie Spies is a nurse practitioner in pediatric oncology at Rady Children’s Hospital. To witness the Sean O’Shea Foundation “Dream Team” for the “Yoga 4 Kids With Cancer” program at Rady Children’s Hospital, please visit this link: Click Here. ​

World-First Evidence Suggests That ​Meditation Alters Cancer Survivors’ CellsClickHerefor article​

Yoga Can Help Children With Cancer – Yoga Can Help Children With Cancer 10:05 a.m. Eastern Time on October 10th, 2010. Debbie Nicholson, Detroit Alternative Medicine ExaminerNew research published in the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, September/October edition, reveals that yoga has the ability to reduce stress in both children with cancer and their parents. Yoga has been shown to be effective in reducing stress in both children and their parents. Researchers revealed that after participating in yoga sessions, parents and teenagers had a decrease in anxiety and an increase in their sense of well-being.

  1. According to the experts, yoga is becoming increasingly popular as an efficient supplemental therapy in the treatment of adult cancer.
  2. The researchers looked into a new area that was focused on cancer patients and their families who were suffering from pediatric cancer.
  3. The children in this study ranged in age from seven to twelve years old and did not exhibit any changes in their levels of anxiety or sense of well-being during the course of the study.
  4. Teenagers did express that they felt relaxed and calmer after participating in yoga, as well as that it was enjoyable.
  5. The yoga sessions were pleasant for the parents, who were able to stretch their muscles, strengthen their bodies, and release tension as a result of participating.
  6. Yoga has several health advantages, including decreasing heart rate and blood pressure, improving circulation, and increasing oxygenation.
  7. In order to investigate the impact of yoga on additional disturbing patient symptoms such as exhaustion, sleep disruption, nausea, and pain, the researchers have emphasized that bigger studies are necessary.

Alternative treatments are also less expensive than conventional treatments.

Acupuncture and acupressure are two types of acupuncture.

Acupressure is accomplished with the application of a set amount of pressure through touch, whereas acupuncture is accomplished through the insertion of very thin needles that stimulate specific sites on the body.

The practitioner frequently does a demonstration on the parent first so that the kid may see and not only hear from the parent that it will not harm, but also see what is going to happen.

Chiropractic therapy for cancer patients has received a great deal of support from the scientific community in recent years.

Chiropractic treatments also have the additional benefit of improving the physical and mental well-being of the patient, as well as their overall quality of life.

The chiropractor may be able to establish whether or not the treatments are appropriate for the patient based on how recently they were performed.

Individualized treatment programs are developed for each patient’s specific needs.

The majority of the time, manipulations are conducted manually; however, adjusting devices can be utilized to offer less violent manipulations in some cases.

Exercises such as walking and stretching may be prescribed by the practitioner, and they may be customized to the individual’s specific needs.

It may be necessary to employ cold, heat, or electrical stimulation.

Chiropractic therapy for cancer patients provides a more comprehensive approach to care by using new sorts of therapies.

Massage therapy will relieve muscle tension and stress by massaging the affected area.

If you have low blood levels, you should refrain from getting a massage.

If cancer has been detected in the bones, request that the therapist apply mild massage.

Slow motions do not necessitate the use of physical strength, and the workouts may be tailored to your own capabilities.

A massage therapist that specializes in aromatherapy can give you with this service.

They can be applied to the skin, but they must be blended with a carrier oil to avoid the possibility of allergic responses.

Atlas Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Mandarin, Rose, and Ylang Ylang are some of the stress-relieving scents available.

The following are some examples of how to use essential oils: Adding one to four drops to cold or hot water is recommended.

Sodium bicarbonate in the bath One drop of each of the following essential oils: Roman Camomile, Geranium, Lavender, and Mandarin is recommended.

Pour the salt under running water after stirring in the essential oils.

Carrier oils such as olive oil, sweet almond oil, or grapeseed oil are excellent candidates. To one ounce of water, add ten drops of essential oil.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Combines Yoga andNutrition in Program Designed to Complement Cancer Therapy

Yoga Provides Stress Relief for Children With Cancer 5:00 a.m. ET on October 10, 2010 Researchers from the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing (September/October issue) have discovered that yoga has the power to reduce stress in both children with cancer and their parents, according to Debbie Nicholson of the Detroit Alternative Medicine Examiner. It was revealed that after participating in yoga sessions, both adults and children had a reduction in anxiety and an increase in their sense of well-being.

  • Researchers have shown that yoga is becoming increasingly popular as a supplemental therapy in adult oncology.
  • Children with cancer and their families were the focus of the researchers’ investigation into a new field of study.
  • People between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, including parents of hospitalized children, exhibited a marked improvement in their mental health.
  • Even more advantages were discovered by the parents themselves.
  • In general, they felt better about themselves, and those parents who participated in sessions with their children reported that it helped them bond with their children more effectively.
  • It also has the additional benefit of improving muscular tone, lung function, coordination, and flexibility.
  • Many parents seek out alternative therapies for their children who are experiencing signs of childhood cancer because they are natural, most effective, and have few, if any, adverse effects.

Some of the most widely utilized nowadays are listed below.

Traditional Chinese medicine includes the practices of acupuncture and acupressure.

Pain, nausea, and vomiting are just a few of the adverse effects of cancer therapy that can be alleviated with acupuncture and acupressure, as can many other symptoms.

Because the kid feels more in charge when the practitioners ask them about their symptoms, they are more likely to want the session to go on for a longer period of time.

Musculoskeletal concerns, as well as symptoms associated with radiation, chemotherapy, or post-surgical damage affecting the connective tissues and joints, have shown a very good response to the treatment regimen.

The fact that a patient has been recommended by an oncologist means that diagnostic testing such as radiography, imaging, and bone scanning has very certainly been performed.

Remember that the majority of cancer patients seek out a chiropractor on their own initiative.

Chiropractic manipulations are employed in some treatments, while non-force approaches may be used in other circumstances to achieve the same results.

Soft tissue manipulation, massage, stretching, and myofascial release are some of the various treatments that may be employed.

These will be adapted to the individual’s needs.

Among these include the application of cold and heat, as well as electrical stimulation It is also possible to receive nutritional and supplementary guidance.

A wide range of treatment alternatives are available in chiropractic therapy, including high velocity, low force manipulation, soft tissue treatments, physical modalities, exercise, and advice on ergonomics and daily living.

See also:  80s-Inspired Yoga Clothes to Pump Up Your Practice

Cancer patients have reported that it has helped to alleviate their pain, and it may also have helped them to feel less fatigued and stressed.

It is also important to avoid massaging near surgical scars or radiation treatment regions if you are getting a massage from a professional therapist.

A soft movement and deep breathing are employed in the practice of Tia Chi.

A soothing effect can be achieved by the use of aromatic oils such as lavender.

Heating the oils and releasing them into the air are additional options.

When it comes to nausea, discomfort, and stress relief, aromatherapy may be beneficial.

Lavender, marjoram, geranium, mandarin, and cardamom are all good for sleeplessness and insomnia, respectively.

The drops are added to cold or hot water in amounts ranging from one to four drops.

Sodium Bicarbonate To make a blend, use one drop each of the following essential oils: Roman Camomile, Geranium, Lavender, Mandarin.

Essential oils should be mixed into the salt before being poured under running water.

– Good possibilities include carrier oils such as olive oil, sweet almond oil, and grapeseed oil. One ounce of essential oil should include ten drops of the essential oil.

Helping kids with cancer stay active: Yoga in pediatric oncology

By Tyla Arnason on March 21, 2019 in Blog. Consider the possibility of hearing the words “It’s cancer” coming across a desk at you. Now assume that your child’s pediatrician is expressing concern about him or her. These are words that many parents have to deal with on a regular basis, despite the fact that they are difficult to comprehend, let alone feel. When it comes to children and adolescents, cancer is one of the major causes of mortality. There are several differences between childhood malignancies and adult cancers.

  1. Beyond the scope of treatment: Support on a long-term basis More than 80% of children who are diagnosed with cancer during their youth today survive as a result of medical and technological advancements.
  2. Growth, motor function, cognition, and other aspects of a child’s development can all be hampered, as can their ability to simply play and engage in physical exercise.
  3. This results in many children becoming less active, in addition to the fact that they are feeling poorly, spending time in hospitals, and being affected by probable changes both physically and mentally.
  4. However, we now know, and the data continues to mount, that physical activity is both safe and good for children with cancer—and that this may involve practicing yoga, which has significant mental and emotional advantages, as well.

My personal experience participating in a research study Having been a participant in a pediatric cancer and yoga research project, I know that when individuals offering the yoga instruction are well-trained and medical teams are on board, parents feel more secure in their decision to participate.

  • There has been no report of significant or poor effects in the existing literature, even among immunosuppressed children who participated in physical exercise while undergoing cancer treatment, which is essential to highlight.
  • Furthermore, physical exercise, particularly yoga asana, has been found to aid in the restoration of a feeling of normalcy in children who are having medical treatment.
  • Their spirits had been raised, their confidence had been increased, and their connections with their peers had been strengthened—and they’d had an opportunity to return to the fun nature that youngsters should never be deprived of in their lives.
  • When children are encouraged to participate in physical exercise, such as yoga, the severe side effects of therapy and comorbidities can be avoided or decreased.
  • Let’s urge children to be physically active and demonstrate to them that cancer does not have the ultimate say.

Since 2007, Tyla Arnason, C-IAYT (The Yoga Effect, @YoginiTyla), has been involved with the cancer community. In collaboration with Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed, Tyla creates yoga protocols that are utilized in research and teaches yoga instructors to work in the therapeutic program Yoga Thrive.

Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness in pediatric oncology − A review of literature

Open access is granted under a Creative Commons license.


In this study, we looked at the most recent research literature on yoga, meditation, and mindfulness in the field of pediatric oncology. Eleven papers satisfied the inclusion criteria for the evaluation and were included in the analysis. Yoga and mindfulness appear to be effective strategies of supporting children and adolescents who are through or have recently completed cancer treatment. This type of intervention deals with the physical as well as emotional difficulties that arise as a result of the disease and its treatment.


Children and adolescents receiving cancer treatment are subjected to a wide range of stresses, both physical and psychological. Yoga is becoming increasingly popular among not just adults but also children and adolescents as a health-promoting activity and as a means of coping with stressful situations.


A review of the literature was carried out in order to offer the most recent findings on the use of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness for children and adolescents who are suffering from an oncological condition.


There were eight research found that looked at yoga as a treatment for children and adolescents who were suffering from oncological disorders. There have been three research on mindfulness in pediatric oncology that have been discovered. The research described here suggests that yoga and mindfulness can assist to enhance quality of life, reduce tiredness, boost activity and fitness levels, improve sleep quality, increase appetite, and decrease anxiety at various phases of the disease and its treatment, according to the findings.


The findings of the research imply that yoga and mindfulness can be used to support children and adolescents who are undergoing or have recently completed cancer treatment. It is not possible to make judgments regarding the efficacy of yoga and mindfulness-based therapies in pediatric cancer patients based on the present body of research. This is a problem that research must overcome in order to establish appropriate designs for future and better investigation of the benefits of yoga and mindfulness in children and adolescents with oncological disorders.


Oncology in children and adolescents Mind-body-medicine In this article, the authors discuss yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and literature review in the year 2021. Elsevier Ltd. is the publisher.

Yoga Decreases Stress in Childhood Cancer Patients and Parents

(Photo courtesy of Dreamstime) According to a new study, yoga may help children cancer patients and their parents cope with the stress of receiving a cancer diagnosis and undergoing cancer treatment. Yoga was found to be useful for older children, ranging in age from 13 to 18, but not for younger children, ranging in age from 7 to 12. According to the researchers, adolescents and their parents reported a decrease in anxiety and an improvement in their sense of well-being after participating in yoga sessions.

  • The participants in this study were children with cancer and their families.
  • A statement from the researchers claimed, “Teens said that they felt more relaxed and calmer, and that was enjoyable.” The yoga sessions, according to the parents, were calming, enabling them to stretch their muscles and strengthen their bodies, and helped them to reduce tension.
  • Yoga has been shown to reduce heart rate and blood pressure while increasing circulation and oxygenation.
  • In previous studies, it was indicated that yoga’s emphasis on deep breathing and respiratory control might help to reduce the body’s “fight or flight” response, which is the body’s response to stressful situations.

According to the researchers, more research is needed to discover whether yoga has an effect on other symptoms such as exhaustion, sleep disruption, pain, and nausea. Researchers from the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota did the research for this article.

  • Yoga Has the Potential to Protect Against Certain Diseases
  • Meditation Relaxes the Minds of MS Patients Participating in Research
  • Massages help to strengthen the immune system.

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Yoga may help kids with cancer

According to a study published inRehabilitation Oncology, the official journal of the Oncology Section, a yoga program for children with cancer can be carried out even while they are undergoing cancer treatment and has benefits for both the children and their parents in terms of quality of life (QOL). In a statement, Dr. Andrea Orsey of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford said, “Our findings support the premise that yoga for pediatric cancer patients during active treatment is practical and possibly beneficial in enhancing both patient and parent well-being.” The research is part of a special issue on Pediatric Oncology Physical Therapy and Cancer Rehabilitation, which includes a number of other articles.

  • New research on the advantages of physical therapy for children with cancer has been published.
  • Orsey and colleagues conducted two early trials to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of a yoga intervention for children with cancer and their families.
  • In a preliminary survey, 20 children and adolescents with cancer, as well as their parents, indicated an interest in practicing yoga during their treatment course.
  • In order to overcome these obstacles, the researchers created a yoga intervention for pediatric cancer patients that was given by qualified yoga teachers.
  • In a pilot study, ten children with cancer and their family members or caregivers took part in the study.
  • Both parents and children expressed their appreciation for the yoga program and expressed a willingness to promote it to others.
  • In order to deliver the advantages of yoga to children with cancer and their families in the future, the pilot research will serve as a reference for future initiatives.
  • The rising collection of research that may be used to guide rehabilitation and physical therapy for children with cancer is highlighted in this special issue.
  • The introduction by Guest Editor Kirsten K.
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In addition, the safety of using symptoms rather than blood counts to determine whether children with cancer can safely undergo physical therapy is discussed in the special issue, as is a community-based exercise program for childhood cancer survivors, as well as specific exercise programs for children with bone cancer (osteosarcoma) and leukemia.

Rehabilitation Oncology is a branch of cancer rehabilitation.

Except for fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without the express written consent of the publisher. The material included on this website is given solely for informational purposes.

Yoga for Pediatric and Adolescent Patients With Cancer

This series of articles from the ASCO Post on Integrative Oncology is designed to provide evidence-based information on integrative and complementary treatments, which are occasionally utilized by cancer patients, more readily available to them. Despite considerable increases in survival rates that have been documented, symptom management in pediatric patients remains to be a difficult task. In recent years, there has been increasing evidence pointing to the advantages of alternative therapies, such as yoga, for reducing the symptoms associated with cancer and cancer therapy.

Nirupa Raghunathan, who also happens to be a medical doctor.

Nirupa Raghunathan is a medical doctor.

Postural alignment, along with the use of the extremities, helps to increase somatic self-awareness.

1 Yoga for Children and Young Adults With Cancer: A Review of the Literature Mind-body treatments, such as meditation and yoga, are becoming increasingly popular for treating cancer-related symptoms such as tiredness, sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression in people who are undergoing treatment for cancer.

  • 6 Yoga’s growing popularity and interest has prompted researchers to look into the possible advantages of the practice in pediatric cancer.
  • Mao, M.D., M.S.
  • Mao, MD, MSCE serves as guest editor.
  • Mao is the Laurance S.
  • Yoga has been demonstrated to be useful in reducing tiredness and discomfort in juvenile and adolescent patients, as well as in increasing their overall quality of life in small clinical trials.
  • 7According to the findings of another study conducted on young adult survivors, yoga can help to reduce tiredness while also improving social functioning and somatization.
  • 9Other research have looked into the benefits of yoga on conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, and cognition in a variety of settings, including in-school and inpatient programs.

Additionally, it has been discovered that engaging the mind, attending to comfort, and performing deep relaxed abdominalbreathing can help to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms in teenagers by disrupting chronic patterns of functional disability and maladaptive coping strategies, which are frequently experienced by patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

  • An intervention in school-based yoga for a sample of school students from poor circumstances was shown to be comparable to physical exercise in terms of increasing cognition in areas such as math and coding after three months of participation.
  • Mechanisms of Action That Could Be Employed Several routes, including neurobiology, hormone regulation, and immunological function, have been identified via investigations into the mechanisms of yoga’s efficacy.
  • 14,15 It appears that there is also some control of the autonomic nervous system occurring as a result of an increase in parasympathetic nervous system activity.
  • 16 Yoga has also been shown to boost the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is involved in neuroplasticity and the modulation of the stress response.
  • When Hatha yoga practice was implemented in a study of breast cancer patients, the results showed a significant drop in cortisol levels in both the morning and afternoon.
  • 18 Additional research has discovered mixed effects of mind-body treatments on the levels of inflammatory indicators such as C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 in the bloodstream and on measurements of cytokine production when the body is under stress.
  • 19 Image courtesy of GettySafety Concerns Injury is the most common side effect of yoga practice, which is due to the physical character of the practice.

Handstands, shoulderstands, and headstands were the poses that resulted in the greatest injuries among participants.

It is worth noting that the probability of chronic adverse effects was higher in people with chronic diseases and in those who practiced via self-study than in the general population.

Furthermore, knowing pediatric behavior and anatomy is critical when it comes to implementing yoga practices in children’s environments.

Over the last 30 years, yoga has been examined for its ability to help with symptom control, with many of the early studies taking place in India.

The details of treatments and dose for various symptoms, as well as the mechanisms of action, in the pediatric population will require larger, well-designed studies, which will be carried out in the future.

Raghunathan is a Pediatric Integrative Medicine Specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Doctor Raghunathan stated that he had no conflicts of interest to disclosing.

Agarwal RP, Maroko-Afek A: Yoga in cancer care: A review of the evidence-based research.

Agarwal RP, Maroko-Afek A: Yoga in cancer care: A review of the evidence-based research.

The effect of Iyengar yoga practice on tiredness and diurnal salivary cortisol concentration in breast cancer survivors was studied by Banasik J, Williams H, Haberman M, and colleagues2.

The effects of yoga on major depression have been studied in a prospective randomized controlled pilot experiment, according to Prathikanti et al.


Eur Med J Oncol, vol.

1, pp.

The effects of an integrated yoga program on psychological stress and radiation-induced genotoxic stress in breast cancer patients receiving irradiation were studied by Banerjee, Vadiraj, and Ram, among others.


Data Brief 1-8 from the National Center for Health Statistics, 2018.

J Pediatr Oncol Nurs, vol.

1, pp.


In a 12-week yoga intervention for pediatric cancer outpatients, Wurz et al.

Blood Cancer in Children and Adolescents 61:1828-1834, 2014.

J Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 39:200-209, 2018.

a mixed-methods pilot study on yoga for teens with IBS, et al.


Tahan and H.

Bicici, have investigated if yoga training is useful for exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.

In this study, the researchers looked at how yoga affected cognitive capacities in kids from a socioeconomically deprived background.

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 18:1161-1167, 2012.

A pilot research conducted by Streeter CC, Jensen JE, Perlmutter RM, et al.

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 13:419-426, 2007.


Complementary and Alternative Medicine 44:129-142, 2019.

Naveen GH, Thirthalli J, and Rao MG published their findings in Indian Journal of Psychiatry in 2013.

Vadiraja HS, Raghavendra RM, Nagarathna R, et al.

A descriptive assessment of mind-body treatments and their use in the regulation of inflammatory biology (19.

A national cross-sectional survey on the adverse effects of yoga was conducted by Cramer, Quinker, and Schumann, among others. The journal BMC Complement Altern Med published a paper titled BMC Complement Altern Med 19:190 on March 19, 2019.

Cancer Coping through Yoga

When Cameron, 7, attends a yoga session with Tonia Kulp, a yoga instructor on the Integrative Health team at CHOP, he finds relief from cancer symptoms. Cameron, 7, was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma when he was seven years old. During his chemotherapy sessions, he would become so frightened that he would frequently puke up. However, when he began working with Tonia Kulp, a yoga instructor on the Integrative Healthteam at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, his nausea subsided. According to his mother, Kristina, “She taught him strategies to calm himself down, such as ‘buzzing like a bee’ and holding the pressure areas behind his ears.” “She was the only one who was able to communicate with him.” As one of many cancer patients at CHOP’s Specialty Care and Surgery Center in King of Prussia who benefits from a yoga program that was established in December 2017 with sponsorship from Julia’s Grace Foundation, Cameron is a good example of how the center’s yoga program may help.

The curriculum approaches the popular practice in a fun and imaginative way that is suitable for children.

Using a straw to breathe in and out, blowing bubbles, or moving a tissue with their breath are all examples of basic techniques, according to the expert.

Using yoga asanas, or postures, Kulp may “prescribe” treatment for patients’ unique ailments and to supplement physical therapy sessions.

Complementing medical care

Patients and families who have heard stories like Cameron’s have become advocates for expanding CHOP’s Integrative Health Program, which offers a variety of therapies that complement a child’s medical treatment. These therapies include aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage and other forms of bodywork, among others. Tracey Jubelirer, MD, a CHOP oncologist, and her colleagues are driving efforts to expand the yoga program and establish an integrative oncology team dedicated to cancer patients. Support for the Integrative Health Program from donor-partners will assist cancer patients at their most difficult moments — and it is something that the children will benefit from long after their treatments are over.

In addition, adds Jubelirer, “Tonia provides patients with tools that they may use in other situations when they are stressed.” Their brains and bodies are taught how to work together to overcome the symptoms and agony they are experiencing. That’s a really empowering thing to learn.

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