Complementary therapies

Sometimes also known as alternative therapies, complementary therapies may help to control your symptoms and enhance your quality of life. They may be used alongside conventional cancer treatments.

Complimentary, or alternative, treatments can improve quality of life for people with lung cancer
Complementary or alternative treatments can improve your quality of life

Complementary therapies work using the healing power of nature, stimulating the body’s natural healing ability.

There is a huge variety of complementary therapies advertised on the open market. Many are well known and proven to be helpful. However, there are also some therapies that have doubtful or unproven benefits.

It is important to also check with your doctor before starting any complementary therapy as it may interfere with some treatments or other medication you may be taking.

Types of complementary therapies

Acupuncture can help relieve pain.

Part of a system of Chinese medicine that depends on the balanced functioning of the body’s energies and involves very fine needles being inserted at specific points on the body’s surface. It can create long lasting pain relief.

Uses massage and inhalations combined with essential plant oils, to promote health and healing of the body.

A light tissue manipulation thought to help balance the body’s energies.

Uses the hypnotic state to overcome limitations by controlling the body and mind.

Massage can help you relax and unwind

Uses gentle to vigorous contact to stimulate the blood flow around the body, helping a person to relax.

A form of ancient Chinese medicine involving treatment using massage to reflex areas found in the feet and hands.

Uses life energy being passed by gentle touch, through the practitioner to the person receiving this relaxation treatment.

Channels healing energy from a spiritual source to the patient through the healer’s hands.

Tai chi combines deep breathing and relaxation with flowing movements. Originally developed as a martial art in 13th-century China, tai chi is today practised around the world as a health-promoting exercise.

It is important to stress that there is no conclusive scientific proof that such treatments can reduce (shrink) or cure cancer.

You should also be very wary of unusual (possibly illegal) and often costly therapies advertised in the media such as the internet, or newspaper adverts, including cannabis oil. Trust information from reputable sources and be wary of links shared on social networks claiming miracle cures.

If you are in any doubt, speak to your GP or hospital team about whether it may be of any benefit to you. They may even have a complementary therapy service they can refer you to.