Complementary Therapies are used in addition to Western conventional medicine. They come with a diverse range of therapies that are intended to assuage the pain and discomfort of children stricken with cancer and uplift their quality of life. A few of the most popular complementary therapies around are massage therapy, aromatherapy, art therapy, reflexology, counseling and music therapy. In cases of the most ill children, the above-mentioned are the therapies that are mostly used.
When using a complementary therapy for their child with cancer, the most common reasons that parents give are:
1. To reduce the anxiety of the child
2. To relieve side effects from therapy
3. To relax the child
4. To enhance the child’s overall health
5. The desire to try every possible healthcare alternative
Complementary therapies can generate a relaxing and soothing effect and other positive effects that can help reinforce a person’s immune system. Emotionally, both the child and the parents may feel that they regained some level of control through usage of a specific complementary therapy. There are patients who think that these modalities can alter their symptoms and parents who choose this path can become even more hopeful of finding a cure for their child.
In London, England, the St. Bartholomew’s Hospital’s Department of Medical Oncology did a research paper concluding that the satisfaction of patients with regard to complementary therapies was very good without the hoped for anti-cancer outcomes. Psychological benefits were also reported by the patients which manifested in increased hope and optimism.
Reflexology, aromatherapy and other complementary therapeutic modalities are consigned to the realm of holistic medicine. This means that good health lies in a harmonious balance between the spirit, body, and mind. The restoration of this balance is believed to stimulate the natural self-healing mechanisms of the body.
Music and art therapies are viable alternatives for people who aren’t comfortable with talk or touch therapies. To receive music therapy, the patient need not be musically talented as the aim is to alleviate the side effects of his cancer treatments and his symptoms, to reduce anxiety and to relax. Art therapy follows a theory that being creative is a great way of healing.
For over 4,000 years, Fort Lauderdale Chinese Medicine has provided the Chinese people with good health and has offered them a way to maintain health. This Eastern healing system is founded on the philosophical principle of balance – yin and yang. The Chinese actually wouldn’t pay their doctors when they found themselves ill, they would pay them to maintain their health.
As the US has been a destination for refugees, travelers, migrants and scholars, part of their legacy is a diverse range of medical and health traditions that are bracketed under the term “complementary and alternative medicine” or CAM. During the early 20th century, there has been overwhelming opposition against the practice of such therapies; today, these complementary and alternative health modalities are widely recognized as legitimate forms of healing and are part of our modern way of living.