Can yoga prevent cancer? The answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’. To understand the influence of yoga on health and its connection with ‘cancer’, it’s important to know how the lymphatic system works. A large number of cancers are habitually caused due the dysfunction of lymphatic organs—organs that secrete a colorless fluid called ‘lymph’ into blood, directionally towards the heart. The lymph fights cancer cells in our body and prevents them from getting metastasized into secondary tumors. When there’s a problem with lymphatic system, our body becomes vulnerable to cancers as the immune mechanisms gets breached. Stress is a major cause of lymphatic abnormalities. Research says that yoga brings down the level of stress to an optimum level and thereby ensures healthy functioning of lymphatic system. So the statement ‘Yoga can prevent cancer’ is true to a great extent. But why it’s also paradoxically true to say that ‘Yoga can’t prevent cancer?
Humans confront a large number of carcinogens (cancer causing agents) in every day life, some of them being so apparently innocuous that we won’t realize them to be a causative factor for cancer. Take for example sleep. A person who doesn’t get enough sleep is at a risk of developing cancer because inadequacy of sleep leads to a decrease in the lymphatic activities. Since lymph destroys the cancer cells and prevent the formation of non-malignant tumors, lack of sleep can indirectly become a cause for cancer. In fact, anything that smashes up the lymphatic system becomes a causative factor for cancer. Diet, stress level, physical trauma and lifestyle are some of the most important elements that affect lymphatic system, and hence bear a strong connection with cancer. Yoga can help bring stress level to an optimal intensity and raise the activity of cells, thereby, ensuring healthy performance of lymphatic organs. But yoga has no control over the dietary habits of an individual. So if someone does yoga regularly but consumes poor diet, he may or may not develop cancer depending upon what dominates—the protective function of yoga on lymphatic system or the destructive function of poor diet on the same. Similarly, a chain smoker may or may not develop cancer depending upon what dominates—the daily habits that leads to protection of lymphatic system or the habits(including smoking) that lead to destruction of the same. Strictly, yoga can’t prevent cancer in an individual if the actions of carcinogens he’s exposed to dominantly damages the lymphatic system.
So what should be done to prevent cancer? The answer is clear now. Implementing yoga in one’s lifestyle and eliminating other causative factors that cause lymphatic abnormalities is the key to live a cancer-free life. A lifestyle that engrosses healthy physical and social environment, consumption of wholesome diet, daily physical exercises, and stress management practices like yoga, massage, music etc… endorses a vigorously working lymphatic system which in turn significantly reduces the risk of developing cancer. A special type of yoga called 'lymphatic yoga' involves massaging the neck while breathing deeply to prevent the clogging of lymph node and promote drainage of lymph into blood stream.
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