Holistic Therapies That Can Provide Side Effect Relief for Breast Cancer Treatments

Most side effects of breast cancer treatments are known to be harsh, unpleasant, taxing, and scary. Because of this, some people have wondered if there are other options to treat cancer that would take less of a toll on their body, mind, and emotions.

Although there are many holistic therapies out there, they are not proven to be effective treatments against breast cancer by themselves. However, for some people, these holistic therapies have shown to be effective in providing relief for the side effects of conventional breast cancer treatment.

If you or a loved one are considering using any other remedies that your doctor has not spoken to you about, we recommend doing so first. In addition, it is important to note that although these holistic remedies have been shown to help some, holistic remedies can be harmful to some people in certain circumstances. 

Most doctors recommend you seek out standard medical treatment first, these natural treatment options should be included in a well-thought-out plan. Complementary therapies are extremely important but work best when coupled with traditional treatment plans as well.  However, we never intend to provide medical advice, so please speak with your doctor about what is best for you! 

Not only are we here to help you in your consideration of holistic therapies, but we are also here to provide you with assistance in obtaining the proper care using holistic therapies - more on that in a bit. For now, let’s get into some of the holistic therapies that can improve some of the side effects of breast cancer treatment. 

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is centered around the use of fragrant oils. This remedy is great because you can alter the process according to your own likes and dislikes. You can also choose whether you want the therapy to be performed by a practitioner or to use it on your own.

If you want to go the practitioner route, you can get a massage. Those with breast cancer choose to inhale the scents through your nose and have the oils rubbed on your body throughout the massage. 

If you want to have more control over the aromatherapy, you can choose how you want to use it. You can add the oils to a bath or simply inhale the scents through your nose in your own space. In addition, you can add in another therapy, such as performing meditation while inhaling the oils.

Aromatherapy can help provide relief in many ways, such as relieving nausea, stress, and pain. It can also help you work through anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure.

This therapy is a safe practice, but it’s best to find which oils and scents work best for you. It is important to note that some oils can cause allergic reactions if applied to your skin, so it is best to perform a skin test with any new oils.

Because some breast cancers are estrogen sensitive, one should be extra cautious when applying lavender oil and tea tree oil to your body and avoid using large amounts. Before moving forward with this remedy, we strongly advise you to consult your doctor first. This is not a cancer treatment, but a remedy.

Music Therapy

You may think you need to be musically inclined to this therapy, but that is not the case. The goal of music therapy is to give yourself a space to relax and let your mind wander somewhere else other than the many stressors in life, especially breast cancer. 

Music therapy consists of playing instruments, listening to music, and songwriting. This is another remedy you can choose to perform with an instructor or by yourself, or even in a group. 

With an instructor, you will work with a certified music instructor, which medical centers usually have on staff. They will guide you through activities tailored to your goals and the needs of each session.

By yourself, you can just let yourself unwind and use music however it will best help you. Within a group setting, you might discuss what the lyrics in songs mean to you or create a song together.

This therapy can help increase one’s mood, reduce anxiety, relieve pain, control nausea and vomiting, and allow someone to express themselves differently from putting their feelings into words.

There are no real risks associated with music therapy. However, we recommend finding a certified music therapist who is experienced working with people with breast cancer.

 

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has been proven to give significant benefits to women with breast cancer. It can reduce anxiety, depression, nausea, vomiting, and breast cancer-related fatigue. according to a number of peer-reviewed studies, one of them being conducted at the University of Minnesota in 2003. 

In the study, patients showed increased levels of dopamine. This chemical in the brain helps produce a feeling of happiness. Additionally, there was even found to be an increase in white blood cells in the cancer patients who received massages versus those who didn’t. White blood cells are the body’s natural defense against threats.

There is even a massage therapy that only requires a light touch. This type of therapy is perfect for women who are looking for alternative medicine to reduce pain but are still sensitive to cancer pain. This natural treatment also allows for a sort of spiritual healing as well. 

If someone has just finished surgery after breast cancer, doctors will recommend only massaging the front of the body until after a full recovery. However, doctors still recommend this treatment to relieve pain. Deep massage should never be used on someone going through radiation or chemotherapy treatments. 

 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

Another example of a remedy for cancer pain is progressive muscle relaxation. This treatment involved the gradual releasing and tensing of focused areas of the body. Quality of life will dramatically improve and patients can expect to reduce cancer pain. 

There is no specialized licensing or certification to these alternative treatments. However, many health care professionals have had progressive muscle relaxation training. Its health benefits are tremendous, and it is recommended for both breast cancer survivors and to treat breast cancer. 

Tai Chi

Although tai chi is an exercise, it consists of slow and graceful movements with an emphasis on deep breaths and meditation.

This therapy is best done with an instructor but with today's technology, you can easily find videos online from various instructors. You can find a group to perform this with in person, or you can perform it in the comfort of your own space with a pre-recorded video. In addition, there are also books that guide you.

There are no prerequisites to the shape or health you have to be in to perform tai chi, as all the movements can be tailored to your abilities.

Because of the slow movements, you’re given plenty of space and time to concentrate on meditating. This practice can help increase your strength, balance, flexibility, heart and lung functions, overall mood, and relieve stress.

Tai chi is relatively safe, as long as you listen to your body and mind. If something is painful or most of your body feels weak one day, it might be best to sit out and not perform tai chi until you feel capable.

As always, we recommend consulting your doctor before beginning tai chi. You should especially discuss this with your doctor if you have any joint problems, if you had recent surgery, or if you haven’t exercised in a while.

Journaling

Journaling is a great therapy practice because you have complete control, and it can also help you express your feelings during this tough time instead of keeping them in.

To journal, all you have to do is write down whatever you want. Usually, people write down accounts of their life, experiences, thoughts, and feelings. But there are so many other options, such as writing down positive affirmations each day, writing five positive interactions you have had recently, or writing about your future dreams.

Journaling is a great thing to do, either right when you wake up or before you go to bed. You are able to put your mind towards a specific focus to start or end your day, or both! Getting in tune with your feelings and journaling can provide you with a greater sense of emotional well-being and overall just feel better.

Journaling causes no harm and is worth a try. However, if journaling starts to feel like a chore to you, you might want to consider trying a different therapy. In addition, if you find yourself only journaling about negative thoughts, you may want to find something else that will be able to reduce your stress instead.

Conclusion

Every single person’s life and experiences are completely different. So there will never be the same right answer for everyone. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is an unimaginable thing for anyone, however, with treatment, it can be overcome. Whether someone with breast cancer chooses conventional treatment or alternative therapies, there are ways to overcome it. 

Finding a holistic therapy that works for you while you’re going through breast cancer treatment can provide the relief you never thought you could receive. A lot of medical centers provide opportunities for their patients to take part in remedies such as the ones listed above.

If you are interested in trying one of these therapies but don’t have the means or access to them, please feel free to reach out to us. We are dedicated to helping those battling breast cancer pay for treatments and remedies of all kinds. 

The only thing Pawsitively4Pink cares about is if it will provide some sort of relief to you. We hope you enjoyed learning about some holistic therapies that can give side effect relief for breast cancer. 

As stated before, always consult with your doctor before making any changes in your treatment. If you are looking for support to fund your holistic treatments or any kind of treatment, please reach out to us. We would love to see if we can help.