Although advancements in treatments like chemotherapy, surgical oncology and radiation therapy have helped cancer patients live longer fuller lives, they do not come without a significant cost. Chemotherapy has a host of side effects, including but not limited to, weakened immune system, fatigue and cognitive impairment. Cancer treatments involving surgery are often followed by prolonged and painful recovery periods. And radiation therapy commonly leaves patients with intestinal discomfort, soft tissue inflammation and skin irritation. But, as a recent Alaskan Dispatch News article revealed, yoga, acupuncture, aroma therapy and massage can ease the discomfort caused by the most commonly prescribed cancer treatments.
Yoga helps cancer patients by giving them meditational exercises that can ease pain, decrease stress and contribute to an overall feeling of relaxation. Acupuncture is known to stabilize the sympathetic nervous system, which reader now reduces nausea and anxiety. Aromatherapy can promote calmness, relaxation and improved immune function. And massage can have a variety of positive effects on cancer patients. Light pressure and specifically targeted massage can provide pain relief without the stomach discomfort that comes with certain prescription medications. It can also increase blood flow to skin that has been aggravated by radiation treatments. And using unscented lotion with a massage treatment can aid with a patient’s recovery from chemotherapy.