cancer and mind

A Mind-Body Approach to Cancer Recovery – Part 2

cancer health

Proven Strategies to Lessen Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Your medical regimen  and often time the side effects that follow will impact your quality of life. Some days are better than cancer healthothers but it’s worth being prepared and incorporate habits and activities that can support and increase your comfort and vitality. The age old wisdom that is outlined below is simple, yet effective. It states that we should be cognizant of everything we put into our body – including our thoughts.

Be Aware of What You Eat

When it comes to food the best thing to do is to prepare it ahead of time. Stock up on organic, healthy foods. You and your family can prepare and refrigerate or freeze healthy meals before you begin therapy. This way you’ll have a lot less work to do when you’re not feeling so great. Ensure the meals are nutrient-dense, and organic (whenever possible) to aid your body in its recovery. Choose a variety of fresh and colorful foods such as:

  • Fruits, vegetables, and legumes
  • Whole grains (Quinoa is a good one. It’s high in protein, gluten-free, easy to prepare and to digest.)
  • Low fat lean proteins: Greek yogurt 2% or 0%, eggs, seafood, lean meat, edamame (soybeans in the pod) and unsalted nuts and seeds.

Some foods to avoid or eat less of are:

  • Sodium (salt)
  • Added sugar
  • Simple sugars (white bread, white rice, candy)
  • Solid fat
  • Alcohol

Eat More Frequently

Good news. You can eat smaller, more frequent meals when you’re experiencing side effects. Try five small meals per day rather than three and see if it helps with any digestive issues. Eating this way can also give you sustained energy throughout your day.

Water, Water, Everywhere

Drink water or other liquids frequently. If you don’t like water, you can get your liquids through soup broths (low sodium, of course), fruit and green smoothies, flavored teas, and more. It’s important to drink a lot of water so you stay hydrated and flush unwanted substances from the body.

Mind Body Connection

Besides eating fresh, healthy, and organic foods, there are some really fun activities to try, whether you’ve attempted them in the past or not. All of these can help keep your mind on the positive healing track. Of course as with any treatment, be sure to verify with your doctor that you are cleared to take part in these treatments.

Exercise

Exercise is beneficial for everyone, but even more so for a patient receiving treatment. Cancer related fatigue is often the most troubling side effect of treatment according to patients. That’s right, even more than nausea, vomiting, pain, or sleep problems, because it affects the ability to perform every day tasks. By getting regular exercise, a patient can sleep better and feel less pain, anxiety, and depression. 1

But what kind of exercise am I talking about? No 5k’s or triathlons, but walking, biking, yoga, tai chi, and water aerobics. Those activities are varied enough that you should not get bored. Each type of exercise can be performed by novices or experts, and each one goes fairly easy on the body yet provides incredible calming and healing benefits.

Additional Alternatives 2

Other important treatments that can provide relief and healing are:

Hypnosis – to work on changing the subconscious so it can work with the body to bring about healing (I think you guessed I’d mention that!)

Massage – yes, please.

Meditation – can help quiet the mind.

Relaxation techniques – uses breath and visualization to calm body and mind

Acupuncture – reduces nausea, vomiting, pain and improves digestion

Aromatherapy – fights anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure 3

Music therapy – benefits patients of all ages and musical abilities. You don’t have to be Mozart or Chopin to reap the benefits. Music therapy promotes wellness, manages stress, reduces pain, and promotes physical rehabilitation. 4

Add these exercises and treatments into your overall healing arsenal to assist you in regaining better health and wellbeing. If you have questions on these treatments, how they are performed, and what they can do for you, please feel free to contact me right now.

1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3647480/

2) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/in-depth/cancer-treatment/art-20047246?pg=1

3) http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/comp_med/types/aromatherapy

4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3863265/