You’ve just survived a bout with cancer and you’re thrilled with your new lease on life. Your kids are thankful that you can start to put this behind you, your friends can’t wait to see you back to your normal self again, and you’re ready to finally start moving on.
But sometimes, the pain continues even after you’re cleared and finished with your cancer treatments. For breast cancer patients in particular, survivors usually require five years or more of hormone therapy and pills, which have devastating side effects like hot flashes, mood swings, headaches, and fatigue, to name a few. It might even feel like you don’t get to experience any of the joys of being cancer-free.
Researchers are constantly trying to find ways to help cancer patients deal with the negative side effects of cancer treatments and pills. We’ve spoken about the sudden fatigue cancer patients experience and told you about alternate treatments to help deal with these side effects, such as:
• Touch therapy, where patients receive light touches on different energetic points throughout their body.
• Acupuncture, which can especially help with the side effects of radiation therapy treatments.
MORE: Touch therapy improves quality of life for cancer patients
And now we’re excited to report on another alternate treatment to improve your quality of life. A new study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine wanted to examine the effects of spiritual healing on women who had survived breast cancer and were struggling with the side effects of hormone therapy medications. They noted that the side effects of these treatments are so severe that many breast-cancer survivors admit they allow themselves a “drug holiday” every now and then—a day they won’t take their medication. This can obviously have dangerous implications, so these researchers wanted to find a way to minimize the side effects.
This new technique is called “spiritual healing,” and the idea behind this age-old treatment is that spiritual healers can channel energy to restore your body’s balance. This approach is part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapy, and anecdotal evidence suggests it works, reducing fatigue, helping patients sleep better, lowering their anxiety, and alleviating pain.
The researchers conducted a clinical study to see what was really happening. They enlisted 12 women with breast cancer who were taking hormonal medication and complained of side effects like joint aches and hot flashes. They participated in 10 weekly spiritual healing sessions, each lasting about 40 minutes, with a trained healer. After the 10-week trial, all the participants noted a decrease in physical pain, a decline in hot flashes, an improvement in sleeping, and relief from joint pain. Some of the participants even pointed out that they could return to activities that they had done prior to developing cancer, like knitting, which their joint aches had previously not allowed them to do.
While the sample size was definitely very small, this type of alternate healing is really promising for cancer patients and survivors suffering from the side effects of strong medication. This natural remedy doesn’t involve any prescriptions or come with dangerous interaction—all it requires is a participant who is ready to get rid of their pain.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Barlow, F., et al., “Effects of Spiritual Healing for Women Undergoing Long-Term Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer: A Qualitative Investigation,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine March 10, 2013; 19(3): 211–216.