Seattle Cancer Care Alliance offers free yoga class for patients

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SEATTLE -- A new Integrative Medicine program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance combines stress-relieving therapies with conventional cancer treatment to help patients cope with the side effects of treatment. The therapies include acupuncture, naturopathic medicine and yoga, among others.

An article published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology Journal shows that these types of therapies are recommended for anxiety and stress reduction, depression, mood disorders and improving quality of life.

Mem Rippey has taught yoga at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for 10-years. SCCA has offered the program for more than 20-years.

"This population of people are very open to trying something that may help and I know for me, yoga is extremely beneficial," said Rippey.

The class is offered for patients who are undergoing or have completed, treatment following a cancer diagnosis.

"She helps modify each pose so the patients can engage in that pose and it really achieves what they need to achieve out of that yoga class," said Dr. Heather Greenlee, the Medical Director of the Integrative Medicine Program.

Rippey uses gentle movements to support the students and their individual needs.

"The empathy she has for all of us is definitely something you experience in the class and it's nice to know someone's paying attention to what you need to feel better or cared for," said Jacob Bruggman, a student in the class.

Bruggman has battled Hodgkins-lymphoma for five years. He started attending the Yoga class about three months ago and told Q13 News he was already seeing its benefits. He said the class helped him with anxiety and strength and offers him consistency and comradery.

"I think the most important thing is to think of ways you can help yourself get through this process versus just experiencing the cancer side of it," said Bruggman. "Especially in this class there's a sense of community which is nice when there's people going through something similar- and especially to try and do something physical with other people who have the same limitations or at least comparable."

Bruggman said he is able to push himself a little more every week, increasing his stamina.

"It's nice to have something that requires me to take time for myself," said Bruggman.

"If they feel better when they walk out of the room in any way physically, mentally or emotionally... it's a success," said Rippey.

The classes are offered every Thursday from 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. at the SCCA Clinic located at 825 Eastlake Ave. E. Seattle in conference room 310.

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