Alternative and complementary therapies can be used to treat the symptoms of lung cancer and the side effects of lung cancer treatment. They are not meant to be standalone cures. Alternative treatments are meant to help patients feel better during and after conventional cancer treatments.
As is the case with many such therapies, supportive research is sparse and opinions are often mixed as to the efficacy of the methods. However, many people have had success in using alternative treatments in the management of many diseases and conditions. This includes lung cancer.
Before trying any alternative treatments, check with your doctor to be sure that the methods are safe and right for you.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of stimulating specific points on the body with very thin needles. The treatment is meant to restore the natural flow of body functions. Acupuncture has been found to be effective in managing the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. It has also been successful in helping people manage pain after surgery.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils to stimulate the part of the brain that affects emotion. Studies have shown that essential oils can promote mental and emotional wellness by reducing stress, depression, pain, and nausea. Lavender promotes calmness. Frankincense is meditative. Jasmine is uplifting. Peppermint fights nausea. Rosemary relieves pain and congestion. Diffuse a few drops of essential oil in jojoba oil and apply to pressure points like wrists, neck, and behind the ears. Add a drop to your favorite face wash or four or five drops to a relaxing bath.
Massage is used to ease pain and promote relaxation. Massage therapists use their hands or feet to apply pressure to relax “knots” in the muscles caused by pain or tension. Some massage therapists specialize in treating cancer patients.
Therapists use hypnosis to put the patient in a trance-like state by using relaxation techniques. Hypnosis has been shown to ease anxiety, nausea, and pain associated with cancer.
Meditation is a state of deeply silent inner reflection in which the individual tries to quiet the mind from outside “chatter.” It can be helpful in reducing stress and tension associated with managing lung cancer.
Yoga is a series of body poses that combines breathing with stretching movements as a form of meditation. It can promote relaxation in cancer patients and provide more restful sleep.