Nausea is a common side effect experienced by patients receiving cancer-fighting chemotherapy treatments. Some people go through worse bouts of nausea than others, while others can eliminate their nausea with a trick that doesn’t offer any relief to another person. The key is simply finding what works best for your loved one. However, when all of the usual nausea aids have failed, you may go in search of something a little less common. Here are a few alternative treatments that may work to help your loved one’s nausea.
Relaxation Techniques Before Treatment
While studies cannot definitively prove that relaxation exercises can reduce nausea in cancer patients, one Japanese study did show that the techniques certainly cannot hurt.
Anxiety levels dropped in the subjects that participated in relaxation, and they reported experiencing positive effects. Many people find relief from nausea if they take the time to relax before their chemotherapy. However, some report that relaxation does not benefit their nausea. The only way to know if it works for your loved one is to try it out.
Some studies of alternative cancer treatments have found that acupuncture is not only useful in controlling nausea but can also benefit cancer patients in a variety of ways. This treatment will not work the same for everyone, but many people experience relief from side effects such as nausea, pain, mental health concerns, and even constipation.
However, studies focusing on nausea and acupuncture believe it is more likely to prevent vomiting than to eliminate nausea altogether. Acupuncture has been suggested to boost the immune system by clinical trials and has even been said to help fight cancer.
Meditation After Treatment
Meditation is another highly beneficial activity for chemotherapy patients. Like acupuncture, meditation offers a slew of benefits. Meditating can cultivate a “mind over matter” mindset which can work against things like nausea and pain as a result of chemo.
Regularly practicing meditation can make your body less susceptible to the negative side effects as well as reducing mental effects like anxiety and stress. Studies have also shown that regular mindfulness practice can boost the immune system of cancer patients.
Beyond battling the effects of chemotherapy, meditation can also improve your loved one’s mood and outlook on life. Too many cancer patients spiral downward into depression and hopelessness. Meditation puts the mind at peace and sets the tone for happiness and general enjoyment of life. If you work to treat the mental symptoms first, your loved one’s physical symptoms become much easier to tackle.
While helping your loved one battle the side effects of their treatment is important, you should also keep in mind that they will need more than just acupuncture. Undergoing cancer treatment can be debilitating. They may find themselves unable to do simple tasks such as walk the dog, take care of the dog, cook, or clean.
Hiring a professional or freelancer can be helpful in some areas but what your loved one needs most is your presence and support. If you’re able to attend an appointment with your loved one, ask their oncologist or other healthcare provider about the best ways you can help them get through this difficult time.
Jim Vogel and his wife, Caroline, created ElderAction.org after they began caring for their ailing parents. Through that rewarding and sometimes difficult process they’ve learned a lot about senior care and specifically the need for more effective senior mental health and support. Their site offers elder-positive resources and other helpful information on aging. In his spare time, Jim loves fishing, reading, and spending time with his kids.
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