Throughout the years, various types of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) have gained popularity in helping diminish the signs of a variety of conditions. Patients prefer CAM options as an alternative therapy for the more natural, holistic, and non-invasive forms of treatment options. However, many of these alternative treatments aren’t meant to treat the condition alone, especially for those with serious health conditions, such as prostate cancer. Nonetheless, some patients choose to complement their treatment regimen with alternative healing therapies to help in decreasing side-effects and symptoms.
For patients with prostate cancer, some surgical procedures, chemotherapy, and radiation can often negatively affect the musculoskeletal system, causing pain and stiffness in joints and muscles. This is when patients turn to CAM procedures such as massage, reflexology, and chiropractics to relieve the pain, reduce stress, and alleviate some side-effects of the harsh procedures.
Massage is known for its relaxing and revitalizing qualities, so it’s no surprise that massage therapy can help to reduce stress in prostate cancer patients. Studies also suggest that massage can boost the immune system and help relieve anxiety in men being treated with prostate canceri.
During reflexology, certain points of the body (typically the hands and feet) are manipulated in order to stimulate certain systems within the body. Reflexology has been studied in patients with prostate cancer, and there’s evidence of its positive effects in increasing relaxation and blood circulation while diminishing pain, anxiety, and nausea. Some even claim that reflexology can help in eliminating toxins in the body, therefore reducing the side-effects of chemotherapyii.
Chiropractors help realign the body to increase wellness, and now their body manipulations can help relieve stress in the spinal nerves, improving body function. Chiropractors can also teach their patients certain pelvic floor exercises, such as tightening and releasing the muscles in the pelvic area, which may help with incontinence after the prostate is removed during a prostatectomyiii.
Whichever form of body manipulation you choose, be sure to discuss it with your doctor before undergoing any alternative cancer treatment.