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Natural Chemotherapy Support Part One

November 23, 2012 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

The topic of conventional chemotherapy is quite controversial in the natural health community. And, there’s certainly a time and place for people of goodwill to debate the pros and cons of this prevalent form of cancer treatment. However, once the decision has been made to utilize chemotherapy, the goal should then shift to finding safe ways of improving the efficacy and tolerability of this widely used procedure.

When seeking out complementary options for use during chemotherapy, mind-body approaches generally and justifiably top the list. The popularity of these techniques and their general acceptance among “integrative medicine” practitioners is due to a growing body of scientific evidence and the unlikelihood that such therapies will interfere with standard treatment.

In recent months, publications appearing in several peer-reviewed medical journals report that: a) acupuncture reduces chemotherapy-related anxiety, depression and fatigue; b) a supervised exercise routine likewise lessens chemotherapy and cancer-related fatigue; c) Mindfulness-based Art Therapy supports blood flow to the brains of women being treated for breast cancer, leading to a decline in anxiety and a boost in subjective energy levels; d) music therapy along with guided visual imagery is capable of lessening chemotherapeutic anxiety and nausea; e) reflexology, a form of foot massage that utilizes acupressure, improves health-related quality of life and repiratory function in advanced stage cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy; f) a 16 week course of Tai Chi helps to restore cellular and humoral immune function after cancer treatment; g) practicing yoga for 6 weeks supports greater emotional, functional and physical well being in patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

In part two of this column, I’ll write about the most current information on dietary supplements which may be useful adjuncts to conventional cancer treatment. In the meantime, please note that the above information is admittedly general in nature. Ideally, every treatment protocol ought to be uniquely tailored for each individual. Doing so can increase the probability of a more positive outcome irrespective of the modality that’s employed. Given this context, mind-body therapies are a very hopeful and promising avenue to consider and discuss with your health care team.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients w/ Breast Cancer (link)

Study 2 - The Effects of a Six-Week Supervised Multimodal Exercise Intervention (link)

Study 3 - Changes in Cerebral Blood Flow & Anxiety Associated w/ an 8-week(link)

Study 4 - Effects of Music Therapy and Guided Visual Imagery on Chemotherapy (link)

Study 5 - Health-Related Quality-of-Life Outcomes: A Reflexology Trial with (link)

Study 6 - Regular Tai Chi Exercise Decreases the Percentage of Type 2 Cytokine (link)

Study 7 - Pilot Study of Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors with Poor Quality of Life (link)

Mindfulness Practice Improves Quality of Life During & After Cancer Treatment

Source: Brain Behav Immun. 2008 August; 22(6): 969–981. (link)

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