Alternative cancer treatments are not a permanent solution to curing cancer, but they can provide some relief and give patients a greater sense of control over their own health. However, many of these alternative therapies are not proven or may be downright dangerous.
In this article, we’ll take a look at alternative cancer treatments that can most effectively be used to mitigate symptoms, as well as any potential risks that may be associated with them. We’ll end with a brief discussion of best practices for cancer treatment.
For more information on cancer treatment and coping with alternative therapies, please contact HIFU Prostate Services today.
Yoga is one of the most widely practiced methods of alternative treatment for a variety of conditions, from anxiety to fibromyalgia to cancer. If you’re undergoing radiation therapy at the moment and suffering from related symptoms, like sleep problems and stress, yoga can be a viable alternative treatment.
Yoga is a method of exercise with its roots in ancient Indian culture. By combining mindfulness, intentional movement, and controlled breathing, the yogi gains a greater sense of presence, groundedness, and self-control. In persons diagnosed with cancer, yoga has been shown to reduce stress and assist in getting adequate sleep.
If you’re not familiar with traditional yogic practices or “flows,” there are lots of classes available to join in most communities. It’s better to work with an instructor in the beginning, as they will have the experience necessary to help you find poses that relieve pain rather than exacerbate it. If you cannot find an instructor, at the very least you can find a great tutorial online.
Whether you play an instrument, write lyrics, or simply sit back and listen, music therapy is an excellent way to cope with a number of cancer-related symptoms. Most commonly, music therapy is prescribed for alleviating pain, nausea, and vomiting, which are all normal side effects of radiation treatment. It might sound strange to think that music could improve these symptoms, but certified music therapists are professional proof that there is a validity to the method.
This alternative cancer treatment tends to be practiced in a group setting or on a one-on-one basis between a patient and a music therapist, which most modern hospitals have on their staff. No musical training or inherent talent is required to participate or to benefit from this tool.
Ahh, sounds nice, doesn’t it? Cancer wreaks havoc on the body in more ways than one, and this can cause immense amounts of tension and soreness to build up in the body. Working with a well-trained and experienced massage therapist can mitigate these unpleasant sensations, reduce stress, and promote a relaxed state of mind.
Massage can be practiced in a variety of ways and techniques, from soft Swedish styles to more intensive deep-tissue rubs. Depending on your place in the cancer treatment journey, a certain type of massage may be more appropriate for your condition and symptoms.
Before working with a massage therapist, check with your doctor. If your blood count is too low, if you have osteoporosis, or if you have some kind of bone cancer, it’s unlikely that massage will be a safe alternative treatment.
Aromatherapy refers to the use of pleasant-smelling oils derived from plants to stimulate the olfactory senses and to create a sense of calmness. If you receive a massage, your therapist may use lavender or eucalyptus. At home, you can take a hot bubble bath and infuse the water with a fragrant mix of rosemary and citrus. When anxiety and stress strike, sometimes just taking a few moments to slow down and smell the “flowers” of a rose or geranium-based essential oil can create an instant alternative treatment.
Be careful not to apply aromatherapy oils directly to the skin, however, as some natural substances can cause inflammation or allergic reactions.
Best Practices for Cancer Treatment
In general, the most effective cancer treatment plan will consist of a combination of both traditional radiation therapy and alternative treatments. Depending on your condition and stage of cancer, your doctor may recommend high-dose or low-dose radiation, or possibly suggest the placement of an internal device that releases radioactive material over time.
Although clinical radiation therapy is usually non-negotiable, the great thing about alternative cancer treatments is that they are up to the discretion of the patient and their individual preferences.