Wednesday, 25 October 2017 18:51

The Value of Healing Arts in Cancer Therapies, October 2017

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Healing arts encompass health sciences and forms of complementary and alternative medicine to promote healing, coping, and wellness. More cancer patients are beginning to utilize complementary therapies which in turn has had significant increase in the past several years. Complementary therapies do not replace standard therapies. Complimentary programs can be started during treatment that would not conflict with direct cancer therapy as these programs focus on the psychosocial aspect. An example of complimentary therapy would be utilizing music for patients in the oncology unit or touch therapy in radiation oncology.

Complimentary therapies can continue long after cancer treatments end, signifying a new way of living even after treatment.  These therapies can help with keeping one’s body healthy as a patient recovers and moves forward.  According to Kathy Latour co-founder of cure magazine, “our complementary approach is to help in the more subjective area of having cancer and getting through it day-to-day.” 

The use of acupuncture, touch therapies, yoga and music along with other complementary therapies can be a valuable addition to patients’ conventional cancer treatments as the medical community recognizes and focuses on the whole person and their quality of life.  Mind/body therapies can include meditation, yoga, Tai Chi to aid with movement, relaxation and overall wellness. 

Massage therapy is another aspect of integrative and holistic healing that can help improve a patient’s overall health and wellbeing. Studies on massage have shown that weekly treatments may also have an impact on one’s body’s ability to fight and contribute to a range of positive outcomes: better quality of life, improved sleep, along with mental alertness and clarity.  Massage has also been shown to help relieve pain, anxiety, depression and nausea.

Acupuncture is a complimentary treatment that is growing. With acupuncture, some side effects of the cancer treatment may be lessened.  Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in treating nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.

Adding complementary therapies is about centering one’s self.  Also included in complimentary therapies are counseling and nutrition, along with support groups.  As with any type of complimentary therapies, patients should research to determine the benefits and risks of such therapies.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider for more information or if you have a medical concern.


Source: Mayo Clinic, American Cancer Society, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cure Magazine

Contributed by The Physician Alliance.

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