Cancer patients nowadays are more than willing to try anything that can help them like alternative and complementary cancer treatments. If you feel that cancer has left you with no control over your health, alternative therapies might be at your rescue. A word of caution: These therapies are still unproven and may cause some damage. However, there is growing evidence that these treatments have positive effect.
How alternative medicine help cancer patients
Alternative treatments have no direct role in curing cancer but they can help you cope with the after-effects of cancer treatments such as fatigue, nausea, pain, vomiting, stress, difficulty sleeping. Incorporating the best available alternative cancer treatments along with the treatments you receive from the oncologist may help relieve many symptoms. You can work out the right option by having a discussion with the oncologist. He/She is the best person to strike a balance between conventional medicines and alternative cancer treatments.
Top alternative cancer treatments
- Acupuncture: In an acupuncture treatment, a professional implants small needles into your skin at specific junctures (acupressure points). There is enough evidence showing acupuncture can help relieve nausea caused by chemotherapy. It may be useful in reducing certain discomforts associated with cancer. Acupuncture is safe until it’s performed by a licensed professional. Your oncologist may recommend someone with acupuncture background.
- Aromatherapy: In aroma therapy, fragrant oils laced with scents are applied on your skin during a massage to provide a soothing sensation. These oils are also evaporated to spread the scent in the air. The therapy helps in relieving pain, nausea and stress. Aromatherapy is usually safe but some oils may cause allergic reaction to your skin.
- Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a mental state of deep concentration where a practitioner hypnotizes you by talking to you in a relaxed manner. As you start to relax, he directs you to focus on controlling pain and reducing stress. Hypnosis helps patients who encounter stress, pain and anxiety. Normally, hypnosis is safe when performed by a qualified professional.
- Massage: In a massage session, your therapist will rub your skin and muscles in order to ease the tension and stress. There are several massage techniques which can either be light or heavy. Massage therapy is extremely helpful in minimizing pain in cancer patients.
- Meditation: It’s a state of deep focus when you concentrate on a particular image, sound or idea such as positive thought. It might be coupled with some breathing exercises. Meditation is generally safe and known to helping cancer patients in relieving anxiety and stress.
- Music therapy: A trained music therapist may involve you in activities developed to meet your specific needs including playing instruments, singing songs or listening to music. Music therapy is safe and may help relieve pain and control nausea and vomiting.
- Tai Chi: It is a form of exercise that involves deep breathing and slow movements. The exercises of Tai chi don't require great physical strength and can be performed by following books or videos. It is always wise to talk to your oncologist before commencing Tai chi.
- Yoga: Yoga combines a range of exercises which require bending, twisting and stretching of your body. It offers stress relief, improved sleep pattern and reduce fatigue for cancer patients. Ask your oncologist to suggest an instructor who regularly works with cancer patients.
These alternative treatments
work well if combined in the right manner. For example Yoga and Meditation
may provide further stress relief.