Many modern cancer patients are turning to ancient holistic therapies to supplement conventional therapies, like radiation and chemotherapy. Standard cancer treatments, while effective, can cause pain, low energy, and other side effects. Holistic therapies can combat these side effects.
Holistic healing such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has evolved over nearly three millennia, into a set of practices to treat illnesses and promote wellness. Cancer is viewed differently by TCM practitioners than Western oncologists, partly because holistic healing is based on the belief that everything in the universe is connected.
Eastern and Oriental medicine view the body as an energy system, with a life force that flows through invisible channels called meridians. Many TCM therapies are energy therapies that unblock the energy flow to promote balance and healing.
Cancer patients today have a number of holistic options, including several energy therapies. Yoga, acupuncture, and acupressure are some of the more common therapies. But modern cancer doctors also recommend therapeutic massage, healing touch, intuitive bodywork, and EFT tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique).
A report by the American Cancer Fund takes a serious look at holistic options for cancer treatment. According to Lorenzo Cohen, director of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Integrative Medicine Program, energy therapies are, “focused on keeping the body balanced, to keep the [energy] flowing through the body and stop blockages … from happening.” In TCM, this is what leads to illness, including cancer.
Integrative energy therapies work to unblock the accumulations that cause tumors, and bring balance and harmony between a patient’s mind, body, and soul. EFT tapping, healing touch, and other energy therapies can be used before, during, and after cancer treatment to alleviate the side effects.
As more patients turn to integrative therapies, more research is being conducted. The result is a better understanding of how holistic care can be useful in the fight with cancer. Various clinical trials have looked at the effects of complementary medicine on nausea, dry mouth, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal disorders, fatigue, and mood of cancer patients.
So far, studies have been conducted on patients with breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and other malignancies. The findings, which are promising for these cancer types, can mean good things in the future for people with other forms of cancer, including late-stage cancer and those going through mesothelioma prognosis.
Holistic care focuses on the body as a whole: body, mind, emotions, and spirit. From energy therapies and mind-body approaches to biologic therapies, nutrition, and special diets, holistic options are many for cancer patients today. The results -- from reduced pain and stress to an enhanced quality of life -- speak for themselves.