The following practices are also recognized as being of benefit to people during cancer treatment and beyond. We continue to seek practitioners with a specific interest and experience in working with people with cancer who practice in these areas to add to our guide.
Aromatherapy is the use of fragrant substances, called essential oils, distilled from plants to alter mood or improve symptoms such as stress or nausea.
Art, Music, and Dance
Creative outlets such as art, music and dance can assist a person in processing the feelings associated with diagnosis and treatment as well as help reduce stress.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated in ancient China and is a system of medicine that uses herbal medicines and various mind and body practices, such as acupuncture and tai chi, as well as nutrition to treat or prevent health problems.
Chiropractic care is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects these disorders may have on general health. Chiropractic care may help to reduce stress and increase mobility, flexibility, strength and function. A chiropractic adjustment may help alleviate a variety of symptoms, including back pain, neck pain, headaches, nausea, neuropathy and fatigue.
Exercise may help manage symptoms and side effects during and after cancer treatment. Gentle exercise may help relieve fatigue and stress and improve sleep. Many studies now show that an exercise program may help people with cancer live longer and improve their overall quality of life.
Writing in a journal is an effective way to handle some of the emotions that living with cancer triggers. Often people facing a serious illness find it difficult to express their feelings to others. Journal writing can allow a person to express difficult feelings in a safe and private way. Regular journal writing also helps people to clarify their thoughts and make good choices.
A meditative walk along a set circular pathway that goes to the center and comes back out. Labyrinths can also be “walked” online or on a grooved board following the curved path with a finger. Moving through a labyrinth may lower blood pressure, relieve stress, improve breathing and shift perception.
Nature Therapy, also known as Ecotherapy involves spending time in nature or even simply looking at photos of nature. This can bring about relaxation which can result in reduced stress and a greater sense of well-being.
During music therapy sessions, you might listen to music, play instruments, sing songs or write lyrics. A trained music therapist may lead you through activities designed to meet your specific needs, or you may participate in music therapy in a group setting. Music therapy may help relieve pain and control nausea and vomiting.
Prayer and Spirituality
Spirituality is generally described as an awareness of something greater than the individual self. It’s often expressed through religion and/or prayer, but there are many other paths of spiritual pursuit and expression. Studies have shown that patients with higher levels of spiritual well-being report better physical health.
Qi gong is an ancient system of movement, breathing techniques, and meditation, which is designed to develop and improve the circulation of "qi" or "life energy" around the body. According to studies, regular practice of Qigong exercise therapy has the potential to improve cancer-related quality of life and is linked to cancer prevention and survival.
Reflexology is based on the principle that the feet are a mirror of the body. Reflexologists apply pressure to areas on the foot that correspond to specific organs which may help to relieve symptoms such as pain, constipation, and nausea.
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art. It is a mind-body system that uses gentle movement, meditation, and breathing to improve health and well-being. It has been shown to improve strength and balance and can reduce stress.
Therapeutic touch is a method of balancing a person’s energy fields to improve health. It can be used to treat stress-related conditions, such as fatigue and headaches. Therapeutic touch can provide pain relief as well as promote wound healing and better lymphatic function and circulation.