Complementary therapies, rather than cure, aim to help patients feel better and recover faster.

Conventional medicine, as defined by the National Cancer Institute U.S. is the system by which physicians and other health care such as nurses and pharmacists, treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation or surgery. Regarding complementary medicine, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is defined as those practices and health and medical products used for therapeutic purposes but which differ from those methods used by conventional medicine. Homeopathy, acupuncture, herbal preparations, meditation and massage are examples of complementary medicine.


Complementary and alternative medicine

Do not confuse complementary medicine with alternative medicine, although it is true that both use the same practices and methods and differ only in how they are used. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine while alternative medicine is one that is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of complementary therapy is the use of aromatherapy to help reduce the pain after an operation, and an example of alternative medicine is the use of a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery or chemotherapy, which would be metdos used by conventional medicine.

The use of complementary therapies

Patients who are considering the possibility of using complementary therapies is important to consult your decision with your doctor, since some of these therapies may interfere with conventional treatment or even be harmful. Before choosing a complementary therapy is necessary to inquire about their advantages and benefits but also about possible risks and side effects. Also, if scientific studies on the therapy is interesting to learn about your results and conclusions.

Complementary therapies for cancer

Each person is different and not all treatments have the same effects and achieve the same results in all patients. In general, most researchers know the effects and effectiveness of standard therapies, as most of the investigations in this field guide. However, this does not mean that some complementary therapies have proven efficacy in treating some symptoms of cancer and the effects that current techniques to combat this disease.


The acupuncture has its origins in traditional Chinese medicine, in which both pain and disease result from an imbalance between the two body forces, yin and yang, which causes the flow of vital energy is blocked. Acupuncture seeks to achieve its restoration through stimulation of certain points on the body with very thin needles. Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It also helps alleviate the pain after surgery because of cancer. The beneficial effect of acupuncture in cancer patients was determined in 1997 by a group of experts Consensus Conference National Institutes of Health, USA.


The technique of massage is based on the pressure, rubbing, or the rhythmic beating a suitable intensity of certain areas of the body for therapeutic purposes. This technique reduces the level of stress, anxiety, depression and pain of cancer patients and helps them achieve a better quality of life. A study carried out by a group of researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York confirmed the beneficial effects of massage on cancer patients. The study results were published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management in September 2004.

The tai-chi and yoga

Through movement, meditation and breathing the patient may feel more relaxed and reduce your pain and improve their quality of life. A study conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in October 2007 says that yoga helps to improve the quality of life in women who are in the early stages of breast cancer.


The use of scented products, called essential oils Can relieve symptoms such as stress or nausea. This is shown by a study conducted by King’s College London and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in February 2007. The conclusions the study demonstrated the effectiveness of aromatherapy in treating anxiety and depression in the short term in patients with cancer.

Fraud in complementary and alternative therapy

At present there are a variety of products and ensure healing therapies, however we must be cautious as many of these treatments are not only false promises and fraud. The products are defined as “miracle cures” or “scientific breakthroughs” and those that include “secret ingredients” are among the first to be suspicious. In case of doubt on the advisability of therapy the best option is to consult with a health care professional.