When you commit to holistic care you are treating the whole person through mind, body and spirit. A combination of traditional, and what your doctor might call complementary medicine, is the definition of holistic care. An example might be treating cancer with chemotherapy and acupuncture. Chemo and radiation are proven to fight the disease, but their side effects can be hard to live with. Using holistic treatment as well may help to ease some of these problems while improving your well-being.
Around a third of adults use a treatment outside of the mainstream medicine. They won’t cure your cancer but they can improve your quality of life. There are also some science-backed ways to relieve side effects.
With acupuncture a trained therapist will insert very fine needles into your skin at specific points. This may ease your pain and nausea. Receiving radiation for your head or neck cancers can cause dry mouth and mouth pain that acupuncture might help to relieve.
Mind-body techniques are shown through research that your mental state can affect your health. Meditation, hypnosis and guided imagery are techniques that can help you relax and focus on something besides your pain. Your medication side effects may also be eased.
Gentle movement and exercise can help to relieve the extreme tiredness and stress, which will help you to sleep better. A regular exercise program may even help those with cancer to live longer, according to studies.
If you talk with a registered dietitian about the foods you need to prevent or treat nutrition problems, it might manage treatment side effects and help your body fight infection and more.
Holistic care is sometimes confused with alternative care. Skipping standard treatments is risky and can cause unpleasant and sometimes serious side effects. When avoiding or delaying mainstream medical treatments, you give the disease more time to grow. However, it seems to me that using alternative medicine prior to using any chemo treatments would be advisable, as it will build your body up first in preparation. Remember that diets that claim to cure cancer are unproven, expensive and harmful.
Before choosing holistic treatment, be sure to check with your doctor, as he knows your condition and the medications you are taking. Steer clear of any treatment claiming to cure cancer and if your doctor recommends this treatment. You should ask if this treatment has been proven in human studies and is it widely used, as well as the potential side effects and drug interactions.
Again, it is important to talk with your doctor about trying any holistic methods, as he needs to know what you are putting into your body. A recommendation from your doctor for a complementary and alternative medicine practitioner might be possible.
Always have a list of questions about holistic treatments that you want to try to your doctor’s appointment to receive some safe choices for you. Bring all the information concerning the specific treatment you want to try from a medical journal or government sponsored health websites. Get the pros and cons and check out the possible side effects. Your doctor should be able to advise you which products and practices are based on false or unproven claims.
Dr Fredda Branyon