Karen Hoyt is a blogger who has a story about hepatitis C, cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, liver cancer, and liver transplantation. This excerpt first appeared on Karen’s IHelp C blog.
For those living with liver disease, it can feel as if you’ve tried everything to address the long list of symptoms that come along with this diagnosis. Whether you’re dealing with nausea, chronic pain, fatigue, brain fog, or inflammation, there have likely been times where you’ve felt defeated by your illness. But don’t lose hope, because there are lifestyle changes that can significantly improve many of the symptoms of liver disease. The benefits of yoga for liver disease can show you how to find relief from pain, fatigue, stress, and anxiety.
A Little Yoga Every Day
One vital change you can make is to incorporate yoga into your daily routine, even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day. With a focus on healing the mind, body, and spirit, yoga offers many medicinal benefits to those who practice it regularly. The meditative exercise can help reduce both the physical and mental anguishes of liver disease in the following ways:
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Relief From Pain
Endorphins are our body’s natural pain relievers. In fact, prescription opioids function by mimicking our natural endorphins and binding to the same receptors in our brains. Yoga stimulates the pituitary gland and causes a release of endorphins into our bloodstream. The endorphins bind to specialized receptors throughout the nervous system to block the transmission of pain sensations to the brain. Many living with liver disease experience pressure or pain located on the right abdomen under the rib cage — this is due to pressure on the diaphragm and can be greatly improved by yoga.
Recommended Poses for Pain Relief: King Pigeon (advanced) or the Upward Bow (intermediate) will directly stimulate the pituitary gland and induce the release of endorphins resulting in pain relief and improved moods.
Relief From Fatigue and Lethargy
Numerous studies have been conducted with chronic fatigue sufferers and have found that yoga is largely impactful in diminishing fatigue. While it is not fully understood, one reason yoga improves chronic fatigue is an increase in blood flow throughout the body. The improved circulation and blood flow combats fatigue and improves focus and awareness. This can leave you energized and ready to take on the day. Studies show that yoga also improves the quality of sleep you receive. Poor sleep is an issue that many of us suffer from and, when combined with liver disease, will make symptoms like fatigue far worse and even dangerous.
Recommended Poses for Fatigue and Lethargy: Poses like the Shoulder Stand will increase blood flow to your upper body, while the Plow Pose will increase blood flow to the brain. This increased blood flow allows you to feel energized without leaving you jittery and crashing later.
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