There are few events in life as devastating as receiving a cancer diagnosis. Facing one’s own mortality can lead to intense feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness. Conventional treatment can be a miserable experience and many patients today are seeking alternatives that can help them regain some feeling of control.
Here are 6 types of alternative cancer treatments to consider:
Acupuncture involves inserting tiny needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Research shows that acupuncture may help relieve nausea caused by chemotherapy. Some patients maintain that it also helps relieve cancer-related pain.
In most cases, acupuncture is considered a safe practice, provided it’s performed by a licensed practitioner with sterile needles. Check with your doctor first, if your blood counts are low or if you are taking blood thinners. Many doctors will refer you to a trusted practitioner if they believe you may benefit from acupuncture.
Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness in which a person is highly responsive to suggestion. There are many ways to induce the hypnotic state, but the simplest involves the therapist speaking to the patient in a gentle voice to help them relax. During the session, the therapist helps the patient focus on whatever their goals are, such as reducing stress and controlling pain.
Like other alternative cancer treatments, hypnosis may help patients who are experiencing pain, anxiety and stress. It may also be effective at preventing nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. While it is considered safe in most cases, be sure to let your therapist know if you have a history of mental illness.
3.) Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques are designed to get the patient to relax their muscles and calm their mind. They often involve progressive muscle relaxation techniques or visualization exercises.
Relaxation techniques may help relieve fatigue, anxiety and sleeping difficulties. These techniques are considered safe and can involve either exercises led by the therapist or guided relaxation recordings.
Meditation is a practice that involves focusing on an image, sound, object or idea. Basic meditation may involve focusing on the breath while practicing deep-breathing exercises. It’s believed to be effective at relieving stress and anxiety.
Meditation is widely accepted as a safe practice. It can be done in a class with an instructor or practiced alone for a few minutes a day. There are also audio recordings of guided meditations.
Exercise can also help you manage various symptoms during and after cancer treatment. Even gentle exercise can relieve fatigue and help with stress management. Studies have shown that regular exercise helps cancer patients live longer and improves their quality of life.
If you’re not already on an exercise program, consult your doctor before beginning one. Always start slowly, increasing frequency and intensity gradually, aiming for 30 minutes of exercise per day.
Yoga is a form of exercise that combines stretching with deep breathing. Yoga poses involve bending and twisting the body into various positions that can help reduce stress and fatigue in cancer patients, while making it easier to sleep.
Yoga is a common practice among people with health problems and your doctor might be able to recommend an instructor. A good yoga instructor can show you alternative poses that may be safer than certain traditional ones you may find difficult or painful.
Be sure to seek the advice of your doctor before experimenting with alternative cancer treatments. None of the methods listed above are known to cure cancer and it’s best not to rely on them exclusively. However, they may help improve your overall health, strengthen your immune system and counter the negative effects of conventional treatment.