Alternative Cancer Treatments

September 24, 2021 - 01:45 PM - 6297 views

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, the emotional and physical consequences can be devastating. Part of any successful treatment is taking care of our mental and emotional well-being. However, due to the unpleasant side effects of invasive treatments, this is easier said than done.

For some patients, it can be beneficial to pair conventional treatments (such as radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery) with alternative cancer treatments. Complementary treatments can be used to manage the side effects of traditional medicine, including nausea, fatigue, and a loss of appetite. 

This article will focus on ways that you can strengthen your body and your mind. Here are a few alternative cancer treatments that you or someone you love might consider:

Massage Therapy 

Cancer causes a tremendous amount of stress, both for the individual diagnosed with it and their loved ones. It puts the body through an intense and physically demanding ordeal. A massage can reduce stress and improve immune function, which is particularly helpful for those receiving cancer treatments.

Deep tissue massages may cause some discomfort, but they can help rehabilitate injured muscles and cleanse the body of toxins. A massage can be paired with aromatherapy for enhanced relaxation effects. Essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, and mint offer stress and anxiety relief.

If you experience any pain during your massage, be sure to let your therapist know and they can adjust the pressure accordingly.


Your body needs to be in a healthy physical condition to endure cancer treatments and fight the disease itself. A regular exercise routine plays an important role in keeping our bodies healthy. Unfortunately, fatigue and nausea can make it difficult to stay active.

A gentle way to exercise your body during this time is by practicing yoga; this has physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits. A few other aspects that yoga helps with include:

  • Sleep quality

  • Managing fatigue

  • Stretching sore muscles

A yoga class should be structured a bit differently for those receiving cancer treatments. Be sure to let your instructor know about any medical conditions before the class begins. This way, the teacher can adapt poses and exercises based on what feels best for your body.

Acupuncture & Cupping

If you’re interested in trying a form of traditional Chinese medicine, you may want to consider acupuncture. These treatments use pressure, heat, and needles to activate acupoints on the skin.

Following these treatments, you may experience a mild tingling or numbing sensation. Acupuncture can be used to relieve pain, improve sleep quality, and reduce fatigue. 

If needles make you uneasy, you may consider cupping instead. With this technique, glass cups are placed on the skin to form a vacuum, which aims to open pores and increase blood flow.

Those who are considering acupuncture should make sure to contact a licensed practitioner for safe and effective treatment. 


A cancer diagnosis can cause a great deal of stress in one’s life. At times, it may seem like your mind is racing with thoughts that you can’t slow down. This stress can make  existing symptoms worse, such as feelings of nausea or headaches. What can you do to restore balance to your life?

Meditation is a way to regain control of your headspace. You can use this technique to center your thoughts and focus on physical sensations, like breathing, instead of anxieties. 

Music Therapy

The profound effects of music have been well-documented. For patients with dementia, playing familiar music has been shown to trigger forgotten memories. But how can music help cancer patients? Some of its benefits include:

  • Reminding you of fond memories. When dealing with something as upsetting as cancer, it can be easy to forget other aspects of our lives that bring us joy. Music reminds us of a time before cancer.

  • Inspiring positive emotions. There’s something about a swinging song that makes us want to get up and dance. Music takes our mind off the present moment and allows us to enjoy something we love. It can lift our moods and reduce stress.

  • Distraction. Cancer can make our bodies feel weak and sore at the best of times. Sometimes, all we want is something to distract us from those physical sensations. By listening to calming music, we can take our thoughts off those symptoms and focus on other, more positive feelings.

Some patients choose to listen to music while they receive chemotherapy or radiation. Others use it to help them recover from these treatments. You might find that music helps you get out of bed in the morning or fall asleep at night. 

We all cope with challenging life events differently. But when dealing with cancer, it’s important to find a blend of lifestyle, dietary, and self-care choices that make our bodies and minds stronger. These treatments can alleviate some of the side effects of conventional treatments and improve one’s well-being.

By: Marianne Pierce

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