St. Clair Checkup

At St. Clair Hospital, cancer care addresses the whole person. In addition to providing academic-level medical oncology, specialized cancer surgeries and state-of-the-art radiation therapy, the St. Clair Hospital Cancer Center offers non-medical services designed to help people with cancer cope with symptoms, side effects, emotions and stress.

One of these programs is Yoga for Cancer Patients, a monthly class in restorative yoga for anyone with a cancer diagnosis, and their caregivers. “Restorative yoga is gentle, like a meditation,” explains Liz Sethner, RN, BSN, OCN, an oncology nurse who works in St. Clair’s Intensive Care Unit. Yoga instructor Holly Koenig does a 15-minute warm-up and then three or four poses for 10 minutes each. “It’s easy and safe,” Sethner says. “Almost everyone can do it. Restorative yoga has many benefits: it helps us to decompress and relaxes the musculoskeletal system; it helps you find comfort in your body. Yoga promotes healing and brings peace.”

“When we are very anxious, in ‘fight or flight’ response, we release hormones that increase heart rate and blood pressure; we can learn to turn off that response,” adds Megan Rhoades, R.N., BSN, Nurse Manager, Oncology and Community Coordinator at St. Clair. “Our participants self-assess their stress level at the start and end of the class, and the responses at the end always indicate significant improvement in stress levels. The yoga class can be a bonding experience; for the caregiver, time with your loved one mostly revolves around their medical needs. This is something different to do together.”

The yoga class is free, thanks to a grant from the St. Clair Hospital Foundation. It is conducted in the Dunlap Conference Center, on the fourth floor of the Hospital. Participants receive parking validation.

For a schedule of sessions and more information, please call 412-942-5082.