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Holistic and Alternative Methods for Breast Cancer Treatment

written by: BStone • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 11/23/2010

There are a variety of different alternative and complimentary treatments for breast cancer, which can effectively help patients going through conventional methods. Learn about alternative breast cancer therapy options, from mind-body techniques to diet.

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    Alternative Therapy

    alternative breast cancer therapy A significant number of breast cancer patients have been turning to non-invasive, natural therapy for years. Conventional medical care causes many negative side effects, in a sense, making the experience of the illness worse, in an attempt to rid the body of the cancer. Alternative methods for breast cancer treatment, such as energy healing and herbal medicine, can treat the symptoms of the disease, and the side effects of mainstream medical care. Research has shown a definite improvement to the quality of life, and many individuals have claimed positive results from using some sort of alternative breast cancer therapy.

    According to a report by Dr. Anh Kieu of the UCLA Department of Medicine, "Alternative Medicine in Breast Cancer," (2002) about half of patients use some type of complementary and alternative treatment. Many of whom, do not mention this care to their physicians. There are dozens of holistic methods that can help. Using one, or even several, can almost certainly bring some sort of relief to breast cancer patients.

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    Acupuncture

    For an acupuncture treatment, a practitioner will stimulate specific points along the body, which correspond to an invisible network of pathways, know as the meridian system. This action helps to free blocked energies, allowing healing to take place. Tiny needles are usually used. Although they are entered into the surface of the skin, acupuncture therapy does not actually hurt. In fact, many people claim to feel either energized, or extremely relaxed after a session. Research has shown that this alternative therapy can help breast cancer patients deal with pain, fatigue, nausea, hot flashes, and vomiting.

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    Guided Imagery

    Guided imagery is a simple, safe, yet effective method of treatment, which can be done with a therapist, or simply at home with an audio recording. In a guided imagery session, a patient listens to a voice which is directing the mind to visualize healing. For example, a breast cancer patient may visualize white light dissolving the tumor area. This mind-body technique has been found in research to be very effective with depression and anxiety. It also appears to improve immune response.

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    Reiki Energy Healing

    Reiki is a Japanese healing form, in which a practitioner taps into universal energy, through an alignment with Usui Reiki symbols. A healer will lay their hands on the body of the patient, in certain areas, for minutes at a time, transferring healing energy. This alternative breast cancer therapy has not been very well-researched. Those who have tried it, claim that it brings positive results.

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    Nutrition and Herbs

    Proper diet, nutritional supplements, and herbal therapy can be used to help treat breast cancer by strengthening the immune system, inhibiting tumor growth, and supporting the body during conventional medical care. There are basic fundamental guidelines, which anyone can follow, although a consultation with a professional naturopath will provide a focused healing program.

    Supplements may be used, such as vitamin C, quercetin, and vitamin E, all of which act as powerful antioxidants. Germanium and maitake supplements are for slowing the spread of cancer cells. B-complex vitamins are used to strengthen the body.

    Herbs can be used for cleansing the body, supporting the liver, and immune strength. Burdock root, red clover, milk thistle, echinacea, and chaste tree berry are all herbs used to treat breast cancer. With herbal therapy in particular, it is important to talk to a health care practitioner, to make sure the medicinal properties of herbs are not conflicting with any mainstream medication being used.

    Diet is a fundamental component of holistic well-being. Through eating a diet of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh juices, and lean proteins, while avoiding substances such as coffee, alcohol, tobacco, processed starches, red meat, and sugars, the body has enough nutrients to thrive, rather than succumb to illness.

    Alternative methods for breast cancer treatment can offer so much to patients, from mental well-being, to strength, to healing. Although many people do not talk to their doctors about integrating alternative and complimentary medicine, an open discussion may actually bring more opportunities for healing. Conventional doctors may suggest or refer alternative medicine practitioners, or at least should be able to offer some sort of helpful information. As more and more people are discovering the benefits of holistic health for themselves, new avenues for well-being are becoming part of the mainstream.

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    Resources

    Balch, Phyllis, CNC. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition." (The Penguin Group, 2006).

    "Complimentary and Alternative Medicine." (BreastCancer.org) <breastcancer.org/treatment/comp_med>.

    "Alternative Medicine in Breast Cancer." (UCLA Department of Medicine) <med.ucla.edu/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=202>.

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    Photo Credit

    photo by:Spakattacks (CC/flickr) <flickr.com/photos/spakattacks/1501710699>.

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.