Virtual Mind-Body Classes | Top 4 Benefits for Cancer Patients

Mind-body practices may offer participants health benefits like improved well-being and stress reduction. These practices unite breath, mental focus and body awareness through specific exercises. They may be mental, physical or a combination of both. Examples include meditation, yoga, mindfulness and tai chi (a type of qigong).

For patients with mesothelioma and other cancers, mind-body practices may help even further. Evidence shows they may help manage pain and lower risks of hospitalization for treatment-related problems. For decades, mind-body classes were primarily offered in person. As a result, cancer patients had limited access to these practices. But thanks to modern technology, many mind-body classes are now available virtually.

How Are Virtual Classes Beneficial for Cancer Patients?

Mind-body practices are gaining popularity in the United States. In 2021, 14% of U.S. adults reported using these techniques during the prior year. The mental, emotional and physical benefits of the practices may be part of their growing popularity.

Cancer patients may be interested in using these as complementary therapies alongside their conventional treatments. But taking in-person classes can be complicated for them.

Immune-compromised people may have a higher risk of getting sick by attending group classes in enclosed spaces. Transportation and other logistics to attend these classes may also require more effort. Depending on where patients live, finding nearby classes may be difficult. Patients may also feel uncomfortable taking a rest or breaks in face-to-face classes.

These are all valid obstacles. But luckily, virtual offerings address many of these issues. What specific benefits might cancer patients experience from virtual mind-body classes?

1. Improved Physical Well-Being During Treatment

Mind-body practices may offer physical benefits that can be invaluable for cancer patients. The specific benefits are unique to each type of practice. For example, gentle yoga can help improve flexibility, strength and balance. It may also aid lymphatic flow and regulate inflammation. Tai chi may help reduce pain and improve patients’ quality of life.

Recently, researchers studied cancer patients who participated in virtual mind-body classes. Participants experienced lower fatigue and fewer treatment-related side effects than non-participants.

2. Better Mental Health for Patients

Mind-body practices may support mental health and emotional balance. Yoga and meditation may reduce anxiety, stress and depression. These challenging emotions are not uncommon for those diagnosed with cancer. But activities like mindful movement, conscious breathing and meditation can help manage them.

Mind-body practices may help improve mood and overall mental health. People taking part may feel a greater sense of calm and peace. They may learn how to build skills to manage stress and overwhelming feelings. Practices like meditation may even help cancer patients relax and sleep better.

3. Increased Safety for Compromised Immune Systems

Cancer patients’ immune systems may be compromised by their conditions and treatments. This may make some activities risky, like visiting crowded group classes. Germs, infections and other illnesses may spread more easily in these areas. For immunocompromised people, these mild conditions may be more serious.

But with virtual mind-body classes, cancer patients can practice these techniques without those risks. Yoga, breathwork, tai chi and other offerings are easily accessible online. Doing these activities from the comfort of home may help protect their immune systems.

4. More Customizable With a Wider Variety of Classes

Cancer patients may feel limited by which classes are near them. They might also be unsure if they’ll be able to modify or rest when needed. But virtual classes can mitigate many of these concerns.

With virtual classes, distance is no longer part of the equation. So patients can choose from more styles and teachers. If cost is an obstacle, online classes are often more affordable than in-person ones. Patients can shop around for the right class at the right cost for them.

Virtual mind-body classes can also be more easily adjusted to patients’ individual needs. Some cancer-specific classes are available, too. Instructors can help modify and adapt poses to accommodate physical limitations. Patients can also rest if they are fatigued or experiencing other symptoms.

Mind-body practices offer many benefits that can make a difference for cancer patients. Virtual classes support their unique needs, so they can more easily reap the benefits.


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