Oncology patients often turn to holistic medicine as a way to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. While traditional treatments are focused on attacking cancer cells, holistic therapies aim to improve the patient’s overall well-being. Acupuncture, massage therapy, and aromatherapy are all effective holistic therapies that can help improve the quality of life for cancer patients. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of each therapy and provide links to research that supports their efficacy.
Acupuncture for oncology
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that has been used to treat a variety of conditions for over 2000 years. In recent years, acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). A systematic review of 21 clinical trials found that acupuncture was more effective than conventional antiemetic therapies in the prevention of CINV. Acupuncture has also been shown effective in treating fatigue, pain, anxiety, and hot flashes, all common side effects of cancer treatment.
Massage Therapy for oncology
Massage therapy is another holistic therapy with a long history of use. Massage has been shown to be an effective treatment for pain, anxiety, fatigue, and depression. A study conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that massage therapy was associated with a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms in cancer patients. Massage therapy has also been shown to improve the quality of sleep and fatigue levels in cancer patients. Cancer patients often experience a great deal of physical and emotional stress. Massage therapy has been shown to help reduce anxiety, pain, and fatigue in cancer patients. In one study, women with breast cancer who received massage therapy reported decreased levels of anxiety and depression. Another study found that massage therapy was effective in reducing fatigue in cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.
Aromatherapy for oncology
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to promote healing. Aromatherapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety, pain, nausea, and vomiting. A study conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that lavender oil was effective in reducing anxiety levels in cancer patients. Peppermint oil has also been shown to be an effective treatment for nausea. Aromatherapy can be used through diffusers, massages, or compresses.
Holistic therapies like acupuncture, massage therapy, and aromatherapy can be extremely beneficial for cancer patients. These therapies can help improve quality of life by alleviating side effects and promoting relaxation. If you are interested in trying any of these therapies, be sure to speak with your doctor first.
If you are interested in trying acupuncture, massage therapy, or aromatherapy for oncology, make sure to work with a qualified practitioner who specializes in holistic oncology care.
Lee, S., Kim, H., Kim, J., & Ernst, E. (2016). Acupuncture for the prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2016(11), CD002285. doi:100002285
Shaw, C., Jayasekera, R., Savolainen, J., & McEvoy, M. (2014). Massage therapy for symptom relief in cancer patients: A systematic review. Cancer Nursing, 37(Suppl.), E51-E64. doi:1010975514537002
Tyagi, P., Banga, A., Aggarwal S., & Chauhan S.(2016). Evaluation of the efficacy of aromatherapy massage with lavender oil in cancer patients: A pilot study. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 2016; 03(04), pp 282-286. doi:10125115/ijnsv30i404282-286