Thursday, June 2, 2011

Guest blog by Kristy Dawson: Cancer patients embrace holistic methods


A recent turn in hospitals has allowed cancer patients and others dealing with illness to sometimes shy away from using conventional methods of treatment such as chemo and radiation. Specifically with cancer patients, an increasing number are turning to complementary and alternative methods of healing that are often based in holistic therapy options such as yoga, chiropractic care, and acupuncture among others.
Yoga has gained major popularity as an exercise option in the past few decades, but recently cancer patients have adopted it as one of the most used types of complementary/alternative therapy sessions. The use of yoga has allowed for those participating in conventional therapy sessions to cut down on common side effects such as nausea and dizziness. Some have adopted it as one of their alternative methods of therapy, as yoga can often be used to help improve range of motion, flexibility, and ease body pain.
Acupuncture has also been used as a way to reduce side effects of chemotherapy and radiation such as vomiting and nausea. Most of the patients who undertake acupuncture as an alternative or complementary therapy are suffering from major bouts with body pain. Acupuncture works to relieve the pain in the back area, as well as numerous other parts of the body.
Using meditation, hypnosis and other mind therapies are often critical to cancer patients. Mind and body connecting methods allow patients to alleviate some problems that are usually hard to counter act such as anxiety and stress. Meditation allows for the chance to free up time from schedules that often overflow with treatment and tests. Hypnotherapy allows patients the opportunity to alter behavior and emotions, while cutting down on stress and anxiety. This form can be crucial for patients who are having a very rough time dealing with their emotions following diagnosis.
The proof is in the stories of use for complementary and alternative methods of treatment. A great example of the impact these are having involves mesothelioma survivor Paul Kraus. This is a type of cancer in the lungs that evolves from asbestos exposure. Kraus has used a combination of strict dieting along with numerous alternative therapy methods such as yoga and meditation to defy expectations. Average life expectancy for the disease is usually between eight and 14 months, but Kraus is living today 14 years after what was expected.
Looking toward the future, alternative and complementary methods are likely to gain heavy popularity. As more and more doctors add in these methods as complements for routine therapy, their importance will take off in the medical community. 
Thank you to my guest blogger, Kristy Dawson! Kristy is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer from Florida. As a Health and Safety Advocate, she shares a strong passion for the wellness of others in her community. Kristy uses her writings to spread awareness of such issues to help others live the healthiest lifestyles possible.  If you want to contact Kristy, please e-mail me at spiral5@mac.com.
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