Complementary Cancer Treatments

There are therapies to ease your symptoms of cancer or the treatment side effects that might include pain, nausea, fatigue or anxiety. You might want to consider looking beyond the tandard medicine for some alternative solutions. The complementary therapies may not always cure the disease, (but certainly might) but many of them can help you feel better and blend safely into your care. Be sure to talk with your doctor prior to initiating any of them.

Some therapies are:

An exercise that focuses on breathing, stretching and physical poses that is a low stress way to move and feel better. Some people taking up this exercise are less anxious, less tired and feel better overall. Talk to your teacher after getting approval from your doctor to choose the right style of class for you.

Acupuncture. By placing very thin needles into specific points on your body this therapy aims to control your symptoms. It may help your nausea and vomiting from chemo, according to studies. Look for a licensed, certified acupuncturist or get a recommendation from your doctor.

Acupressure. This is something like acupuncture, but without the use of needles. They use a special bracelet to stimulate a spot on the inside of your wrist. Again, this type of therapy can ease nausea, a common symptom of cancer and its treatments, like radiation and chemo.

Massage. A massage by a licensed therapist just plain feels good, and it can east the symptoms of pain, fatigue, anxiety, nausea and depression. This type is safe for those even in the advanced stages of the disease. Let the therapist know you have cancer so that he/she can offer some options that will best work for your condition. With radiation you should have them avoid those areas of radiation, as well as any skin are that is red or swollen.

Tai Chi. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that focuses on slow movement, meditation and breathing. It could help you feel better overall and could reduce fatigue from cancer. The scientists believe it may boost your immune system, which is a key in fighting cancer, but more research is needed to confirm this.

Aromatherapy. Using essential oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus as home remedies has been used for centuries. Rub them on your skin, breathe them in or add a few drops to your bathwater or compress. They may help you feel less anxious and depressed along with better sleep. They might have an allergic reaction on your skin so watch out for that. If you have a tumor that is sensitive to estrogen, do not use lavender or tea tree products.

Biofeedback. This will help you relax and manage your pain. Special machines are used to monitor some of your body’s basic signals, like heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and breathing. Using a licensed technician will allow you to access the info to control how your body is working.

Guided imagery. This will harness the power of your mind, and you can imagine yourself in a favorite spot that is free of pain just by closing your eyes. Combine this with progressive muscle relaxation to tense and release parts of your body. People in a study found they had less pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, anxiety and depression.

Reflexology. This is a massage that will put pressure on specific spots on the soles of your feet that can help your symptoms. Those with breast cancer reported that it especially helped with fatigue and shortness of breath, and there is no downside to a really good foot rub!

Most people, even without the symptoms of cancer, would enjoy being pampered with one or all of these different therapies. You will most likely receive many benefits from using complementary treatments for your cancer.

Dr Fredda Branyon