Conventional Treatments and Side Effects
Conventional treatments that target unhealthy cells often have negative effects on healthy cells, like those of the skin, hair, intestines, and bone marrow. That’s what causes some of the side effects from the treatment.
Common side effects include weakened immune system, fatigue & vomiting, nausea, hair loss, general weakness and sore muscles. As a result, many patients suffer from a consequential decrease in their quality of life and emotional challenges such as stress, anxiety and feeling depressed.
From Alternative to Integrative
Natural remedies have been categorized for many years as “alternative” and are often eyed skeptically by conventional health care.
However, in recent years the natural approach has been adopted widely by major health care centers as part of their Integrative programs and their treatment offerings.
Treating conventional side effects naturally is a common practice these days and it is backed by strong evidence, based on hundreds of studies that validate the benefits of natural approaches not only in reducing side effects but also in improving the effectiveness of conventional treatments.
These are the 5 pillars when it comes to fighting treatments side effects naturally:
According to studies over 80% of patients use herbal supplements, making it the most common natural remedy for fighting side effects.
However most of those herbs and dietary supplements have not been studied together with conventional treatments and therefore could potentially interfere with the treatment and reduce its effectiveness or even cause drug interaction.
Protectival , an herbal formula made of 14 plants, is one of the few exceptions and may be the most researched natural supplement tested for safety and effectiveness.
Backed by 15 years of scientific research including clinical trials in patients undergoing active treatment, studies showed that 82% of the patients who took Protectival didn’t show a decrease in white and red blood cells health, and 85% felt an improvement in their symptoms including body aches, nausea, fatigue, weakness and bowel functions.
Other supplements with strong evidence of working are CBD which is used for muscle aches , Ginger, which is used for nausea and Astragalus (one of the ingredients in Protectival) which stimulates the immune system and supports cellular health.
Among the different complementary therapies, acupuncture stands out in the amount of research and studies done on its benefits in reducing side effect symptoms.
Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been used for over 2000 years. Putting very thin needles into the skin activates and stimulates the body’s own self-healing mechanisms.
Acupuncture can help in managing many side effects including body aches, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, hot flashes, depression and insomnia.
Other therapies that can be used are massage and aromatherapy to ease body aches and manage emotional related side effects such as stress and anxiety.
Backed by hundreds of studies, exercise has been proven to enhance cancer treatment effectiveness and reduce some of the common side-effects, leading to an improved quality of life for patients.
People who perform aerobic exercise or resistance training during treatment have been found to tolerate the prescribed dose and number of cycles of treatments, showing a significant improvement in some of the most common side effects including fatigue, anxiety, stress and sleep problems.
During a treatment cycle, patients will experience good days, where they feel like they can function normally, and bad days, where it is a struggle just to get out of bed.
The exercise plan should be adjusted accordingly, aiming to maintain as much physical fitness as possible but without getting to a point where the patients feels wiped out.
Exercise can include walks, swimming, bicycle riding, pilates, or light weights. It should start slowly with the aim to reach at least 30 minutes of exercise a day on most days of the week.
Conventional treatments can be hard on the body but the toll they take on the emotions is no less serious.
The struggle consistes of a combination of psychological and medical factors. On one hand, patients face stress, fears and worries. On the other hand, they have to deal with the emotional impact of physical symptoms, like nausea and fatigue.
Most people have to learn to manage and reduce feelings like fear, anxiety, and depression at some point during their journey. That’s where mind-body practice comes in.
Mind-Body practice during treatment can include meditation, breathing & relaxation techniques, guided imagery & visualization, as well as practice that combines mindfulness and physical exercise such as Yoga, Tai chi & Qigong.
A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is an important part of treatment. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after reatment can help tolerating the treatment-related side effects, keeping up strength and energy and promote faster recovery.
Eating well during treatment can be a challenge. Conventional treatments can affect both appetite and flavor preference. In addition, there are many other symptoms that may affect the patients ability to keep well-nourished such as fatigue, bowel changes, mouth sores and nausea.
While diet should be personalized according to health condition and symptoms,
some of the building blocks of a healthy diet include eating small portions throughout the day, drinking a lot, including fresh juices, and eating a well balanced diet with lots of plant foods. Greasy, spicy and processed food should be avoided as much as possible.
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