A complementary therapy means you can use it alongside your conventional medical treatment. It may help you to feel better and cope better with your cancer and treatment. It is important to discuss with your doctor any complementary therapy that you are thinking of using.
An alternative therapy is generally used instead of conventional medical treatment. All conventional cancer treatments have to go through rigorous testing by law in order to prove that they work. Most alternative therapies have not been through such testing and there is no scientific evidence that they work. Some types of alternative therapy may not be completely safe and could cause harmful side effects.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being. The inhaled aroma from these “essential” oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function.
Acupuncture falls under the banner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is a system of primary health care that includes Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Remedial Massage (Anmo Tuina), Exercise and Breathing Therapy (such as Qigong), and Diet and Lifestyle Advice.
Antioxidants, also known as “free radical scavengers,” are chemicals that interact with and neutralise free radicals, thus preventing them from causing damage.
Art Therapy, also known as Creative Arts Therapy or Expressive Arts Therapy is a healing modality based on the premise that the integration of art into the healing process can be emotionally restorative and can serve as an outlet for the expression of all the emotions a diagnosis like cancer brings.
Ayurveda is the traditional healing modality of the Vedic culture from India. It is said to be 2000 to 5000 years old, meaning it has stood the test of time. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that literally translates as “the wisdom of life” or “the knowledge of longevity”.
Biofeedback, also known as Neurofeedback, EEG Biofeedback, NF and NFB is a medically approved, non-invasive, drug-free form of brain self-regulation that improves the central nervous system by training the brain to operate at an optimal level.
Cannabis (marijuana) is a plant from Central Asia that is grown in many parts of the world today. The Cannabis plant produces a resin containing compounds called cannabinoids. Some cannabinoids are psychoactive (acting on the brain and changing mood or consciousness).
Cartilage is a type of tough, flexible connective tissue that forms parts of the skeleton in many animals. Cartilage contains cells called chondrocytes, which are surrounded by collagen (a fibrous protein) and proteoglycans, which are made of protein and carbohydrate.
Chiropractic Therapy is based on the idea that a healthy spine and nervous system play an important role in your overall health and well-being. Chiropractors see illness as the result of nerves being compressed by muscle spasms or joints that are out of place.
Energy Therapies are also called biofield therapies. Energy therapy is the gentle art of clearing cellular memory through the human energy field promoting health, balance and relaxation, and is based on the concept of connection between the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realms of our lives found in many holistic healing methods.
Essiac and Flor Essence are herbal tea mixtures sold worldwide as herbal dietary supplements or health tonics, and which are often used as complementary treatments for AIDS, Cancer, Diabetes, and Gastrointestinal Diseases.
Treatment of childhood cancer is associated with a spectrum of late effects, including impaired growth and development, cognitive dysfunction, diminished neurological function, cardiopulmonary compromise, musculoskeletal sequelae, and secondary malignancy.
Gerson therapy involves a very specific diet with nutritional supplements. It aims to rid the body of toxins and strengthen the body’s immune system. It is based on the role of minerals, enzymes, and other dietary factors, and has been used to treat cancer and variuos other conditions.
Guided Imagery is also often referred to as Imagery or Visualisation, and is the use of images to assist one to imagine and attain a specific goal. Guided Imagery is based on the premise that the mind and body are connected, and that one can use one’s imagination to influence one’s physical health and sense of well-being.
Herbal medicine uses plants, or mixtures of plant extracts, to treat illness and promote health. It aims to restore your body’s ability to protect, regulate and heal itself.
It is a whole body approach, so looks at your physical, mental and emotional well-being. It is sometimes called phytomedicine, phytotherapy or botanical medicine.
Vitamin C is a nutrient found in food and dietary supplements. It is an antioxidant and also plays a key role in making collagen. High-dose vitamin C has been studied as a treatment for patients with cancer since the 1970s.
Hypnosis is an altered state of awareness in which you are relaxed but have focused attention. Clinical hypnosis by qualified hypnotherapists is a medically recognised therapy used to treat emotional or physical problems.
Jin Shin Jyutsu is the Art of releasing tensions which are the causes for various symptoms in the body. Our bodies contain several energy pathways that feed life into all of our cells. When one or more of these paths become blocked, this damming effect may lead to discomfort or even pain.
Unlike mazes, which are designed to confuse users, labyrinths consist of a single path that winds its way from the outside of the circle to the centre and back out again. Not only are they being used to complement traditional cancer treatment, but they are also a supportive measure for family members and caregivers.
The term “laetrile” comes from 2 words (laevorotatory and mandelonitrile) and is used to describe a purified form of the chemical amygdalin.
Amygdalin is a plant compound that contains sugar and produces cyanide. Cyanide is believed to be the active cancer-killing ingredient in laetrile.
Massage Therapy is a system of treatment that works by stroking, kneading, tapping or pressing the soft tissues of the body. It aims to relax you mentally and physically. It has been used for centuries. Massage may concentrate on the muscles, the soft tissues, or on the acupuncture points.
Meditation is the practice of concentrating or focusing your attention to increase mental awareness and calm your mind and body. The aim is to be aware of thoughts that normally occupy your mind or to experience the sensations that flow through your body and mind.
Music therapy is the use of music as a way to help people express and cope with difficult feelings. It can encourage contact and communication with other people and help ease some physical symptoms. It may be used along with other therapies, such as art therapy.
Naturopathic Medicine combines modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural therapies. It is a system of healing that focuses on supporting and stimulating the body’s ability to heal itself. Naturopathic medicine takes a holistic approach, which means that it focuses on the whole person rather than on a person’s illness.
Play Therapy is a term used for a group of techniques that a trained therapist uses to “hear” what a child is saying by the way they play. By understanding the symbols children use, the therapist can ‘listen’ to what the child is really saying and then help them to work through difficult emotions and cope with their problems.
Giving a child the opportunity to communicate enables them to gain more control over their feelings and anxieties. This doesn’t just mean the child who is ill but is just as true for their brothers and sisters. Play Therapy is just as important for them. They too, may need to express their feelings and fears and can do so in the same safe, confidential environment.
Relaxation techniques are basically various methods used to focus the attention on calming the mind and relaxing the muscles and include activities such as visualisation exercises, guided imagery, biofeedback, self-hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing exercises.
Tai Chi (pronounced Tie Chee) is an ancient Chinese martial art that combines slow, focused body movements, meditation and deep breathing. The relaxed and deliberate movements of Tai Chi help develop balance, coordination and flexibility. Tai Chi is often referred to as “Meditation in Motion.”
Yoga is an ancient lifestyle practice that uses a series of movements and poses (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation to allow a deeper connection to Self. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj and means “to join” or “union.”
This page is being updated as we can so please come back frequently to check new information
Please note that the Little Fighters Cancer Trust shares information regarding various types of cancer treatments on this blog merely for informational use.
LFCT does not endorse or promote any specific cancer treatments – we believe that the public should be informed but that the option is theirs to take as to what treatments are to be used.
Always consult your medical practitioner prior to taking any other medication, natural or otherwise.