A Psycho-Oncological Model of Cancer according to Ancient Texts of Yoga | Abstract
Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy

Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy
Open Access

ISSN: 2157-7595

+44 7480022681


A Psycho-Oncological Model of Cancer according to Ancient Texts of Yoga

Amritanshuram R, Nagendra HR, Shastry ASN, Raghuram NV and Nagarathna R

Background: Several psycho-oncological models of cancer have been published. Integrated module of yoga has been found to be effective as an add-on to conventional management of cancer through randomized control studies. Objectives: To develop a model of the aetiopathogenesis of cancer according to ancient yoga texts. Methods: This process had four phases: 1) Review of modern scientific and original texts dating back to 5000 years, 2) Focused Group Discussions (8 members) to develop the model, 3) preparation of the module based on the proposed model and 4) field testing of yoga modules for patients with cancer. Results: Yoga texts propose that cancer is disturbed homeostasis (an imbalance) based in the mind. Persistent, uncontrolled, fast recycling of thoughts in the mind due to wrong knowledge about the source of happiness is the origin. This activates wasteful release of vital energy, (prana), which in due course, expresses onto the physical body as habituated imbalance resulting in uncontrolled molecular (gene) level activity. This ‘local violence’, progresses by activating the chemical reactions, resulting in inflammation or uncontrolled mitosis. The goal of yoga therapy is ‘mastery over inner chemical processes through mindfulness and alertful rest to reduce the inner violence’. Yoga modules were developed based on this understanding of the etiology of cancer. Review of literature and group discussions which also contributed to these modules, aided to keep the focus on scriptural relevance and clinical feasibility. These modules were used in patients with stage 2 and 3 breast cancer in randomized control studies between 2003 till 2008. The results of these studies pointed to the beneficial effects of yoga as compared to conventional management. During surgery, IAYT reduced hospital stay, faster wound healing and lower drain retention; during chemotherapy, practice of yoga demonstrated lower nausea intensity and frequency, anxiety, depression, better immunological status and quality of life; yoga practice during radiation therapy brought about lesser side effects, less stress levels, better cortisol rhythm, sleep. During and after the treatment period patients indicated better quality of life. Controlled studies on breast cancer patients provided the scientific evidence that these modules are effective in clinical settings. Conclusion: This yoga based, workable model has incorporated the subtle aspects of mind (prana, mind and the self) into the psycho-neuro-immunological model of cancer. Evidence suggests that yoga techniques that are based on the models are effective in the management of breast cancer. Mechanism studies and intense dialogue are necessary to consolidate these concepts.