Cancer patient seeks yoga for treatment

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR/CNN) – Patients and their caregivers are turning to yoga therapy to fight  cancer at the Indiana University's Simon Cancer Center.

Nipan Ray is fighting Leukemia at IU's Simon Cancer Center, where the average stay is four weeks. He and his wife are some of the nearly 300 patients, family, and staff integrating yoga into their journey.

"You need to be strong because it's a long process this is a difficult treatment," Ray said.

Ray is tethered to medical machines, so his instructor, Nancy Schalk, comes to his room for treatment.

Schalk uses mats for the more mobile patients, teaching full time, four days a week.

"It's a whole different level when you start to work with the medical staff as a part of the healthcare team within the hospital," Schalk said.

The yoga is part of the "Complete Life" program, the brainchild of Dr. Larry Cripe.

"I've been amazed with how much people love it," Cripe said. "I don't think it necessarily has an effect on the tumor, but I think it has a strong effect on how you feel when you are receiving treatment, and I think people feel better."

"What I've seen is it helps with a lot of the side effects that come with the treatment swelling, muscle atrophy it happens frighteningly quickly poor digestion and elimination," Schalk said.

"You know science does not frequently have any of the answers, and so it's avoiding the trap of thinking now that I have cancer I can only do what my oncologist says I should do," Cripe said.

Better results occur when patients partner, and yoga is one way to do just that, Cripe said.

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