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Conditions - Cancer - Alternative therapies


Patrick Massey MD, PhD  ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy, Elk Grove Village IL and serving the Chicago area.

Complementary and alternative medicine for cancer is a popular topic in books and the internet.  It can be confusing and overwhelming, especially at a time when stress is high.  Most oncologists are not experts in alternative and complementary medicine and most alternative practioners are not experts in drugs and side effects.  That is where an integrative medicine physician, like Dr. Massey is invaluable...to make an expert recommendation.


Acupuncture: insertion and manipulation of needles in the body with the idea of restoring balance.  In Oriental medicine, acupuncture is able to balance the flow of energy in the body.  It is believed that a balanced energy flow results in health.  Acupuncture is most commonly used by cancer patients to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy and to reverse the fatigue associated with traditional cancer therapy.  The effectiveness of acupuncture is directly related to the expertise of the acupuncturist (more information on ALT-MED acupuncture click here).
 
Massage: manipulation of soft tissues can result in a number of positive benefits for cancer.  Massage may increase the number and activity of natural killer (NK) cells of the immune system (click here -http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19376750).  NK cells kill cancer cells.   Massage also increases endophin levels.  Endorphins are hormones made in the brain and commonly are thought of as “feel good” hormones.  They are also profound immune stimulants.  Massage has been shown to be effective for a number of side effects associated with traditional anti-cancer therapy.  The effectiveness of massage therapy is directly related to the expertise of the massage therapist (more information on ALT-MED massage – click here).
 
Herbs, vitamins, and dietary supplements: There is increasing evidence that specific supplements and herbs may improve outcomes and survival.  To date, however, no herb or supplement has been conclusively shown to cure cancer.  There is robust research on the benefits of specific mushrooms as well as immune system – enhancing herbs.  
 
Contrary to usual medical recommendations, taking specific vitamins during and after cancer therapy is associated with better outcomes and increased survival.  Areas of intense research is high dose, intravenous vitamin C…a procedure done at ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy…and the benefits of soy in breast cancer patients(click here)
 
***All recommendations for vitamins and supplements should be made by an integrative medicine physician, like Dr. Massey, because some supplements and herbs are contra-indicated with specific chemotherapy drugs.  Integrative medicine physicians (MD, DO) are experts in both traditional and alternative medicine.
 
Energy medicine: medical research has discovered that bio-energy healing therapies like Reiki, healing touch, qigong and others are not the result of simply placebo (click here).  There really is something going on.  Energy based medical therapy can be very effective for many of the side effects of cancer therapy including anxiety, pain, fatigue, insomnia and depression.  In addition, there are no side effects and energy medicine can be done at any stage of therapy.  There are no contraindications with any cancer therapy. 

Like massage and acupuncture, the expertise and training of the energy healer is key.  Dr. Massey has trained (and continues to train) with many internationally renown energy healers and has been doing energy medicine for over 20 years.  


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Monday December 16, 2019