here are a lot of alternative treatments for cancer, most of which are healthy foods, mineral supplements, or antioxidants. Quite a few of these natural treatments help fight cancer cells. All these remedies target the body’s natural ability to protect and heal itself. According to a study, 9 out of 10 patients took an alternative treatment for breast cancer, and nearly 11% opted for alternative treatments instead of chemotherapy.
How Are Alternative/Natural Cancer Treatments Helpful?
More and more people are opting for alternative treatments for cancer instead of going for chemotherapy. While the natural remedies are successful for some, in many cases, patients need to combine various treatment to get effective results.
But, it is to be noted that in many cases, alternative therapy solely is not going to be of any help, especially during the more advanced stages. It is recommended that the patient weigh all the pros and cons before going for any treatment.
Did You Know?
Lower ph level in blood makes individuals more prone to cancer. Thus, it is advised that alkaline foods like fresh fruits be consumed more regularly.
Alternative Treatment for Cancer
Here are some alternative treatments for cancer that are legal, and also advised by doctors.
In this treatment, the practitioner inserts tiny needles into your skin at precise pressure points and then gently removes them. This method stimulates the nervous system to release immune system cells. Research has shown that using acupuncture(1) for cancer is effective in reducing pain and nausea caused due to chemotherapy.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice, and its goal is to stimulate the body enough to release the blocked ‘qi’ (blocked energy). The effects of the treatment can vary from person to person; some may feel relaxed after the treatment while others may feel energized or in a generally good mood.
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A light and relaxing massage are always advised to people who have cancer. During the massage, the practitioner will knead your muscles to release the tension and help you feel relaxed.
This is a complementary therapy that works well with mainstream treatment. Though massage cannot treat cancer itself, it does help reduce the side effects caused by treatments and improves general well being.
In fact, according to the Cancer Council, the benefits of massage include improvements in quality of life, sleep, and the health of the scar tissue, among many others.
Another complementary therapy, meditation is the practice of deep concentration where you focus your mind on one idea or image. Research has proven that meditation can help relieve the stress of the mind and the body. It takes ongoing practice to maintain concentration for a more extended period, and hence, it is better to practice meditation(2) under the guidance of a teacher.
Meditation is considered good alternative therapy for lung cancer since it helps relieve chronic pain experienced by patients with this type of cancer. Other benefits of this practice include improvement in cognitive functions and better sleep quality.
It is advised to practice meditation for 15-20 minutes twice daily.
[Also Read: Home Remedies for Cancer]
The treatment of homeopathy is based on the concept of like for like. To treat any illness, the homeopath will use a small dose of the substance that in large doses will cause the symptoms. The homeopathic medicines are made from plant and animal substances that are diluted with water until very little of the original properties of the substance remain.
Homeopathy medicine is tailor-made for every individual based on their lifestyle and particular needs. The general benefits of homeopathy medicine are reducing cancer’s side effects, boost the immune system, and reduce symptoms of cancer.
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5. Dietary Treatments
There are some nutrients which are required by the cancer cells to thrive and should be avoided by patients, while there are some which help fight cancer cells and thus their consumption should be increased.
A varied diet can give your body the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to improve immunity. Broccoli, for instance, can be used as an alternative for breast cancer since the sulforaphane in Broccoli has shown to kill cancer cells by 75%, according to a study.
Similarly, pomegranate juice is used as an alternative treatment for prostate cancer since it curbs the production of those cancer cells. Processed and hard to digest foods should be avoided by all cancer patients.
6. Music therapy
A music therapy session generally includes playing an instrument, listening to music, or writing lyrics. Along with relieving pain, it can also help reduce nausea. Many medical centers have music therapists on staff for regular music therapy sessions.
You don’t need to have any musical talent to participate in music therapy. Music therapy is not an alternative treatment and is more of a complementary treatment since it helps patients relax and has a calming effect.
It can also help reduce side effects from cancer treatments, like nausea.
Hypnotherapy is a method of relaxing your body by putting you in a trance-like state so that your body is completely relaxed, but the mind is active. Depression, anxiety, and stress, all of which arise from cancer treatments and their side effects can be effectively treated with hypnotherapy.
It is also considered an alternative treatment for small lung cancer since it can convince people to give up smoking and use of tobacco.
Hypnotherapy is a simple procedure where the practitioner will ask you to sit in a chair and focus on relaxing your mind and body. The therapist will then give you positive suggestions for managing your symptoms.
[Also Read: Natural Therapies for Throat Cancer]
All cancer patients are advised to exercise regularly, regardless of the type of cancer. These three exercise types are considered as most effective for strengthening your body and improving the immune system:
- Aerobics: Aerobics can get the heart rate up and help pump more blood to your body. This can increase lean muscle mass and improve metabolism.
- Stretching: Due to cancer treatments, many people may feel weakness in certain parts of the body. Stretching exercises can help relieve this pain and also improve muscle strength.
- Balance: Many cancer drugs are known to impair balance, and doing balance exercises can help with this.
9. Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation therapy focuses on calming your mind and relaxing your muscles. This is a lot like meditation, and relaxation techniques can reduce stress and induce better sleep. These include progressive muscle relaxation or visualization exercises.
Ta Chi is one such form of exercise that includes gentle movements and deep breathing. You might need a therapist for these exercises initially so that you don’t inadvertently pull any muscles. They can be practiced by yourself after the initial training period.
Yoga has been proven to fight many illnesses and disorders. The practice of yoga aims to create harmony between your mind and body to help you feel calmer.
Cancer treatments are focused on killing tumors, and this can have side effects on the quality of life. With yoga, patients can reduce anxiety and stress and improve their quality of life. Fatigue, nausea, and vomiting due to chemotherapy and pin are all curable with yoga.
Did You Know?
Taking minerals/vitamin supplements can reduce the chances of cancer in older men.
Things to avoid
Patients are advised by their doctors to avoid certain foods, and you may also have to make a list of foods to forego, which can trigger any side effects of cancer treatments. Here are some such foods that cancer patients should avoid:
- Any cold meat, be it cold hot dogs or deli cold cuts, should be avoided. Always reheat meat till it’s hot before consuming.
- Sugary foods, like packaged juices with too many calories and too little nutrition, should also be avoided.
- Raw sprouts or raw/uncooked beef and eggs.
Try to include at least ½ a cup of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet daily.
Did You Know?
Tobacco and alcohol are the primary cause of five cancers, including cancers of the lung, throat, larynx, mouth, bladder, and pancreas.
Even if alternative cancer treatments may not help you cure cancer, they can still help with its various symptoms like stress, nausea, or pain. Opting for any alternative treatments is the patient’s decision, but this choice must be made wisely after considering all the factors. After all, even if a remedy works 98% of the time, there’s still a 2% chance that it might not work.
Q. Are alternative treatments worth trying?
For many cancer patients, trying out various treatments is the way to determine what works best for you and which treatment suits your body. As such, alternative treatments for cancer are worth giving a shot, but always consult your doctor before doing so.
Q. Are there any side effects for alternative treatments?
Natural remedies are preferred by most primarily because they don’t have any side effects by themselves. But, these safe treatments and vitamins can also alter the effects of cancer drugs or compound their side effects, as stated by a cancer study report.
Q. Do all natural remedies work?
As discussed earlier, not all alternative remedies work. Many companies advertise natural remedies as cancer-curing when, in reality, there’s only a 50-50 chance of these treatments working.