Lymphoma Alternative Treatments

Written by Dale Kiefer | Published on November 14, 2014
Medically Reviewed by Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, FACP on October 14, 2014

Alternative Therapies for Lymphoma

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) refers to treatments or therapies that are not routinely included in conventional, Western  medicine. Complementary treatments may be used along with your traditional treatments to help control lymphoma symptoms. However, they will not cure lymphoma. You should not postpone conventional treatments to pursue CAM.

There is no solid evidence that alternative therapies can treat or cure lymphoma. Always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your treatment plan.

Making Smart Decisions about CAM

Before you start a CAM treatment, talk to your doctor. Some CAM options can interfere with traditional treatment. Therefore, it’s important that your doctor knows what you are using. It’s also important to choose a CAM practitioner carefully. It may be a good idea to ask for recommendations from your doctor or hospital.

Several professional organizations certify CAM practitioners. It’s always a good idea to stick with a certified or licensed professional, when possible. Certification implies that a practitioner has received specific training and has met certain acceptable standards for safe and competent practice. .

License requirements vary by state. CAM services that are often regulated include:

  • acupuncture
  • chiropractic
  • massage therapy
  • naturopathy

CAM and Symptom Reduction

CAM therapies should not be used to treat cancer. However, they may help reduce symptoms. Several commonly used CAM treatments are described below.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a type of traditional Chinese medicine. Small needles are used to stimulate specific areas of the body in order to realign the energy pathways. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It may also reduce pain.

Stress Relief

A number of CAM techniques have been shown to reduce stress associated with cancer treatment. These include:

  • massage therapy
  • meditation
  • yoga
  • tai chi
  • hypnosis

These therapies may also help with pain.

Ginger

Ginger is a traditional treatment used for nausea. It has been proven to help with pregnancy-associated nausea. It may also help relieve nausea associated with chemotherapy

Ginger may be taken in a variety of ways. Some people find that it helps to suck on candied ginger. The powered, dried rhizome is marketed in pill form. Ginger may also be consumed as a beverage.

However, it is possible that ginger might interfere with other cancer treatment. If you are using it frequently, let your doctor know. 

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