Dr. Dinesh Kumar*, Dr. Naveen Krishan Goel, Dr. Awadhesh Kumar Pandey and
Dr. Munesh Kumar Sharma


Background: Interest in yoga is increasing worldwide with increasing use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in chronic and incurable diseases. Despite several evidences in favour of beneficial effects of yoga, there is lack of literature on established role of yoga. Also, opinions of cancer patients and of alternative therapists regarding yoga are lacking. Objective: to investigate opinions of cancer patients and alternative therapists regarding yoga and to explore their perceptions regarding use of yoga in cancer. Methodology: Study was conducted among cancer patients attending Radiation Oncology Outpatient Department (OPD) at a tertiary health care facility and selected alternative therapists practicing in different fields from different states of the country. Their opinions, perceptions and beliefs regarding CAM use, spiritual aspects, perceptions, beliefs and practices related with role of yoga in cancer and other relevant information was explored by conducting personal interviews using semi-structured interview schedules. Results: Among 1117 cancer patients, overall CAM use was found among 432 (38.7%) patients and 966(89.4%) patients were aware of yoga /meditation and 139(14.4%) of aware were using yoga and meditation. There were 173(15.5%) patients who believed that yoga is helpful in curing cancer. There were 173(15.5%) patients who believed that yoga is helpful in curing cancer. Among 166 patients practicing yoga, 86 (51.8%) were inspired by Baba Ramdev followed by 12(12.7%) inspired from media, Perceived benefits of yoga included helpfulness of yoga to reduce stress and give peace in mind (22.5%) and benefits felt by patients practicing meditation included stress reduction (92.1%), relaxation (75.0%) and decreased pain (16.3%). Yoga was being advised by 223(91.3%) alternative therapists. Conclusions and Suggestions: The study reported high degree of awareness and faith of cancer patients in yoga and meditation. Overall use of yoga and meditation was not so high and limited to almost 15% only among those having faith. Cancer patients were adopting yoga and practice mainly for seeking stress reduction. Among alternative therapists surveyed, yoga and meditation was the commonest therapy for curing cancer mainly for balancing mind, body and soul as perceived by them. The study suggests the need of conducting more scientific studies providing evidences in favour of yoga and meditation in cancer cure before it is recognized and integrated into cancer therapeutic programs.

Keywords: Alternative Therapists; Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM); Yoga and Meditation.

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