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Health & Wellness // August 4, 2016 MAAC Staff

The Best Alternative Cancer Therapies To Consider

Alternative therapy refers to any kind of practices and systems that aren’t the part of mainstream medicine. Alternative cancer treatments offer the feeling of control over the disease, reduce pain and improve the quality of life. However, not all therapies are equally effective. To sort out the good from the bad, below there are safe cancer treatments that provide the benefits you try to look for.

Meditation

Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn can help people deal with problems like high blood pressure, tiredness, and pain. Usually, it takes more than one session to see the benefits, and practitioners may even feel a bit stressed at first, as they discover how truly difficult it is to quiet their mind. However, regular practice can lead to physiological benefits that could improve a person’s health overall.

In fact, several studies support the idea that regular meditation can help individuals with cancer. One study examined 90 cancer patients who performed regular meditation session during seven weeks. As a result, people who meditated had 67% mood disturbance, and 31% reduced stress symptoms. Other cancer studies were analyzed to define real benefits of meditation in cancer care. Meditation along with cancer treatments such as radiotherapy generally helps patients feel more positive and optimistic about their condition. It also reduces some side effects like nausea and anxiety.

Massage

According to the US Cancer Center, patients who have mesothelioma may benefit from massage. In particular, patients who have massage sessions along with conventional treatments have reported feeling calm and lower levels of pain.

The aim of massage is to work specific muscles to reach tissues and blood vessels below the skin, increasing blood flow and oxygen flow throughout the body. Muscle stimulations ease aches, soreness, and pain that many cancer patients experience as a result of their condition. The most popular option among the U.S. patients is Swedish massage, but there are also hot stone, shiatsu, deep tissue, Thai, and other types of massages.

While massages certainly cannot cure cancer, they can reduce side effects and promote a sense of relaxation. It’s one of the most effective treatments for patients who experience emotional imbalance because of their conditions, as it helps them feel at peace and can improve overall health.

Acupuncture

As the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture explains, acupuncture refers to a process of putting needles into the particular points of the body. They are left there for a short period of time and then gently removed. Acupuncture can reduce symptoms of anxiety and may even help with physical problems.

One of the main reasons cancer patients use acupuncture is to help fight nausea caused by chemotherapy drugs. It’s used in some clinics and hospitals as a promotion of a sense of wellbeing.

The most popular and detailed study of acupuncture in cancer patients was published in 2000 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study look at 104 women suffering breast cancer. They were divided into groups, with one group undergoing acupuncture treatments, while the other group did not. Women who underwent acupuncture treatment experienced fewer nausea episodes than women who didn’t.

Yoga

As a secondary treatment, yoga has shown the ability to improve a patient’s quality of life, increase a sense of well-being, reduce stress, and provide relaxation. There are many comprehensive cancer care centers that include yoga into their cancer treatment plans.

In 2010, the influence of yoga on cancer patients was examined in the comprehensive study, which included 10 clinical trials. As a result, it was demonstrated that yoga reduces depression, stress, and fatigue for the majority of patients. They also reported better quality of sleep and mood, something which cancer patients tend to struggle with on a regular basis.

Art Therapy

Art therapy refers to using art materials with a specialist to create objects that have personal meaning. It’s a form of emotional support that can release bottled-up emotions and offer new perspectives. Art therapy isn’t necessarily about creating pieces of art, and you don’t have to know how to paint or draw.

For people with cancer, art therapy is a way of exploring and explaining difficult thoughts and feelings. Patients enjoy the expressive qualities and the control of making art, which can induce provide positive feelings. It’s quite supportive to connect with people who have similar conditions and share experiences with a professional. Art therapy is also a good choice for people who don’t feel comfortable having talk or touch therapies. It also supports family and friends affected by the disease.

According to a Medical Daily article, one study that examined 17 women with cancer. They used art therapy to address their mental issues after they found out about their diagnosis. They all reported improvements in their mental health and quality of life.

Seeking Alternative Therapies

None of these alternative cancer therapies are curative – they will not help patients fight cancer directly, nor will they eliminate the need for chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. However, they can certainly help cancer patients deal with the pain, stress, and discomfort associated with cancer, the invasive treatments required to fight it, and the emotional problems that can come about because of both the disease and the treatments.

The most important thing is to find an alternative therapy (or therapies) that works for the patient. Meditation may work well for one person, while yoga or massage might work best for another. Identifying the right therapy, or mixture of alternative  therapies, that can help the patient recover best is the most important thing.