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Complementary Therapies
Do you or someone you care about have
cancer? Alongside your conventional
treatment, there is a huge variety of
natural therapies available. Here are
some common ones, and some
information to help you decide what is
right for your situation.
Massage Therapy
Research has shown that certain types of massage make people
feel emotionally better, at least in the short term. There are
variety of different types of massage therapies, including
remedial massage, shiatsu and reflexology. It is thought that
massage may also help with physical symptoms.
Regular meditation can help calm your mind and enhance
your health and wellbeing. Cancer patients tend to use
meditation to help ease anxiety, stress, pain and sleeping
problems. As with massage therapy, there are many
different types of meditation.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical system that
involves inserting fine needles just under the skin into
specific pressure points around the body. One of the
main reasons people with cancer use acupuncture is to
help with pain and nausea.
Homeopathy is based on a belief that ‘like cures like’ – that
illness can be cured by taking a very small dose of a
substance that, if taken by a healthy person, would produce
symptoms like those being treated. Homeopathic remedies
are water or alcohol based solutions that contain tiny
amounts of certain plant, mineral and animal substances.
Homeopaths are of the belief that the remedies stimulate the
body to heal itself.
Herbal remedies
Herbal medicine uses roots, stems, leaves flowers or
seeds of plants to improve health, prevent disease and
treat illness. It has developed from centuries of practice
and observation of many different cultures and
traditions. Herbalists aim to restore your body and its
ability to protect and heal itself.
Chiropractors use their hands to manipulate your bones
and muscles, especially those of your spine. No drugs or
surgery is involved. Chiropractors believe that if your
spine and nervous system are healthy then the rest of
your body will be in good health and well-being.
Good luck!
Whichever complementary therapy you feel is
right for you, it is best to discuss your choice
with your doctor before going ahead with it. It
is important to note that these therapies are not
proven to cure cancer. Rather, they can be
helpful in managing its symptoms. These
treatments should be undergone together with
a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet and
regular exercise where possible.
• ‘Complementary and Alternative Cancer
Therapies,’ Cancer Council Victoria, 2009