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Breast Cancer Treatments: A Naturopathic Approach

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; a time dedicated towards raising awareness for breast cancer and honoring and supporting those who have been affected by breast cancer.

According to statistics, 1 in 8 women are at risk of developing breast cancer. The best way to lower your risk of developing it is to practise a healthy lifestyle and cut down on anything that can leave toxic residues in your body.

For if you’re a woman who has breast cancer or if you’re at a higher risk for it, then alternative therapies can help you get some control over your health and wellbeing. Natural remedies or complementary therapies can help support your health along with conventional medicine. Swaantana helps you understand how.

Breast Cancer & Homeopathy
Homeopathy was developed almost 300 years ago. The name homeopathy, coined by its originator, Samuel Hahnemann, is derived from the Greek words for ‘similar suffering’ referring to the ‘like cures like’ principle of healing.

A patient is given a medicine or a concoction made out of plant extracts and herbs that, when taken in low doses, usually cause that symptom. It’s believed that once your body gets used to the symptom, it can start to produce antibodies and cells that can fight that symptom.

Other principles include tailored, personalized treatment – different people with the same condition may receive different treatments with different medications; and the “law of minimum dose”—the idea that a lower dose translates to greater effectiveness and better results.

As with most types of complementary therapy, many women use it as a means of symptom and pain management. Homeopathy can help relieve signs of stress and depression as well as control side-effects of cancer treatment like sickness and fatigue.

Breast Cancer & Alternative Therapy
People have always been curious about alternative ways of healing. Alternative therapy and treatment doesn’t play a direct role in curing cancer, but they can work as effective coping mechanisms for symptoms and side-effects. Common symptoms of the cancer that can be brought down with alternative therapies include:
-Muscle weakness
-Sleep disorders

Alternative therapy can help lessen the stress of the treatment itself. Combining evidence-based conventional medicine with alternative therapies can help relieve many of the symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment. It offers a holistic treatment plan, which not only treats the symptoms but also sustains health.

When it comes to natural cures and therapies, it’s important to work closely with one’s primary physician to develop strategies that are most effective. In any case, natural cures can’t be a substitute for conventional medicine. A Naturopathy doctor, like one at Swaantana, can help you understand the available options to determine treatment methods.

There are plenty of natural cures and therapies that can be recommended based on your needs. A few are effective, a few not so much. To separate the ones that work from the ones that don’t, Swaantana has compiled a list of the top therapies that are worth trying.

Breast Cancer & Natural Therapies
The word ‘natural therapies’ can also be used as a synonym for complementary and alternative therapies. It all comes under the umbrella term of alternative medicine.

A few natural therapies that are worth trying to relieve symptoms and preventing risk are:

  • Acupuncture
    It has always been a central part of Chinese traditional medicine. Acupuncture is the most commonly used treatment for chronic pain. Increasingly, it is being used for overall wellness, including stress management. Many healthcare practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue.
    During an acupuncture treatment, a practitioner inserts tiny needles into your skin at specific points. These points, when stimulated, act on your nervous system and relieve tension and nausea. Research has shown that acupuncture has a significant effect on reducing pain, nausea, and fatigue.
  • Massage therapy
    Massage therapy is the process of manually stimulating the nerves and tissues through a series of muscle manipulation techniques on one’s skin. A study has found that massage therapy relieved symptoms of nausea and pain in women with breast cancer. It also reduced the dependency on pain medication. Deep tissue massage releases protective white blood cells that can help manage pain and other symptoms.
  • Diet
    A good diet is essential for maintaining health. However, a balanced diet can’t cure or prevent cancer and no naturopathic practise claims that, either. However, being mindful of your diet can help nourish and sustain your energy levels during the process of cancer treatments. General advice is to avoid foods that are high in sugar, processed foods, and salty foods. These foods increase blood pressure and cholesterol while depleting energy levels.
  • Supplements
    In addition to a healthy, balanced diet certain supplements high on antioxidants can lower your risk of cancer by eliminating the residues from free radicals. Studies on how supplements can help cancer prevention are rare. But for those who deal with fatigue or nausea, supplements can help. According to a review, supplements with garlic, turmeric, and ginseng can be beneficial.

Other Holistic Therapies
Other therapies recommended by naturopathic doctors and physicians come under lifestyle changes and recommendations. Holistic therapies, such as relaxation techniques, often promote peace and mental balance. Relaxation techniques are ways of focusing your attention on calming your mind and relaxing your muscles. These include:
-creative pursuits such as art, music, and dance
All of the above work as effective stress management techniques, as well. 

How Does Naturopathy Support Cancer Treatment?

Naturopathy is all about integrative medicine and treating the body as a whole. By emphasizing a holistic approach, naturopathic medicine offers supplementary therapies to support and nurture the body during the treatment process.

Naturopathy can also grow and optimize the body’s tolerance level for conventional medicine by providing therapies that can build a body’s natural defense and recovery mechanisms.

Conventional cancer treatments that are essential for the recovery process, such as radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, often have severe side-effects. Naturopathic treatments can help deal with those side-effects and reduce the need for pain medication.

Naturopathic Doctors Help Breast Cancer Patients:
-Sustain and boost the immune system which allows for faster recovery time after a cancer treatment or surgery.
-Reduce side-effects from the conventional treatments by offering safe alternatives to pharmaceutical pain medication
-Motivate healthy patients to engage in preventive measures by making lifestyle changes to lower their risk
-Support in the post-recovery process by recommending strategies that can reduce chances of recurrence

Naturopathic treatment plans are personalized to each patient after a health evaluation and consultation. These plans can be adjusted during or after the treatment regime. Physicians can prescribe therapies such as:
-Lifestyle and diet changes
-Natural medicine (including herbs and plant extracts)
-Herbal supplements

In addition to providing support for those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, naturopathy can also help you implement health strategies that can reduce your risk. All naturopathic treatments are focussed primarily on prevention techniques to support and nurture your optimal health. 

Naturopathic treatments are a safe way to experiment with a more natural approach to medication and conventional medicine. However, it’s not recommended that they be used as a primary treatment regime. The bottom line here is that every person’s body and health needs are different.

It would be incorrect to assume that all alternative therapies will be effective along with traditional treatments. However, some of these therapies can provide an extra boost of energy and support needed during the treatment process.

Women who are considering complementary alternative therapies should always consult their primary physician first. A consultation with a naturopathic doctor can help clear any additional doubts or issues. Sometimes, alternative therapies work well together.

At Swaantana, you’ll be given advice and recommendations based on your medical history and your health goals. You can book a consultation to better understand your options for prevention and support.

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