Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments are prescribed by your doctor to treat and hopefully eliminate the cancer in your body. However, these treatments only treat one or a limited part of you and often overlook the rest of you.
Holistic and integrated health strives to address the whole person, not just the cancerous part of you. This approach takes into consideration your emotions, thoughts, feelings, as well as your whole body. Also, proactively finding supplemental holistic or integrated health approaches may help you feel better in that you are taking an active role in trying to recover. Please do note that these are supplementary treatments to your cancer treatment or can be used post-cancer. You may want to ask your doctor about these treatments, or see what he or she may suggest in relation to your specific needs.
There are several holistic and integrated health treatments that are available: acupuncture, aromatherapy, exercise, hypnosis, massage, meditation, music therapy, relaxation techniques, tai chi and yoga.
- Acupuncture involves using small needles at specific points; it is used to relieve nausea and sometimes pain.
- Aromatherapy is the use of fragrant oils for relaxation, or to minimize nausea and pain. Oils can be used in a massage, a bath, or dispersed in the air.
- Exercise can reduce stress, promote relaxation, and help you sleep well. Hypnosis is also an option, where a therapist can use hypnosis to help you manage your pain, your stress, or encourage relaxation.
- Massage can promote relaxation and minimize stress.
- Meditation and controlled or deep breathing may help you by focusing your mind and alleviating stress.
- Music therapy is where a therapist may sing with you or play instruments; this is helpful in minimizing pain and nausea. Relaxation techniques, taught by a therapist, may help you relax and sleep well.
- Tai chi is a stress-relieving exercise that involves deep breathing and slow movements.
Yoga is a great way to relieve stress and improve your quality of sleep.