As alternative therapies – such as massage, yoga, animal therapy and acupuncture – have become a major adjunct and a complement to conventional medicine, even the Mayo Clinic is acknowledging as much with their recent Complementary and Alternative Medicine Event.
At the event, people will not only be offered more information about relaxation techniques, meditation and herbal supplements but will also be given massages, aromatherapy samples and training sessions of tai chi and yoga.
Meanwhile evidence about alternative therapies being used as complementary as well as standalone treatments continues to pile up.
Alternative therapies for women with breast cancer
Since the mainstream treatments for breast cancer can themselves cause so much suffering, women find succor in alternative therapies. Radiation and chemotherapy can be enervating and debilitating in the extreme.
They can cause hair loss, nausea, neuropathy, extreme fatigue and lung problems. Added to these side effects is the psychological impact of stress that women also have to deal with.
Dr. Lorenzo Cohen is a professor and Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, who has found that complementary therapies play an important role in managing side effects of western medicine.
Eastern therapies and mind body interventions such as yoga, meditation and support groups can be particularly useful in the doctor’s view since lowering stress can have a biologically beneficial impact.
Women with breast cancer find that therapies such as acupuncture not only relieve problems such as fatigue, nausea and irregular bowel movements, they also significantly reduce stress and promote peace of mind, which can further be augmented by meditation classes.
Many women who are against the use of chemicals as medication do have to make some effort to get around to the idea of toxic western medicines, but they find that this necessary evil in the end can be eased with the help of alternative therapies.
Alternative treatments for allergy sufferers
An alternative therapy that goes by the name of ‘Salt Therapy’ could hold out new hope for allergy sufferers as well as those with respiratory problems such as cystic fibrosis or COPD. This therapy consists of 45-minute sessions in the Salt Room, which is covered in salt from floor to ceiling and where tiny particles of salt are distributed into the air.
The patients breathe in these salt particles which help to loosen phlegm and mucous and have a naturally anti-inflammatory impact on a person’s allergies and other respiratory problems.