Integrative Therapies are complementary treatments that help patients to strengthen the body and the immune system before, during and after conventional cancer treatment. They enhance the power of these therapies to kill cancer cells. They also go a long way to protect non-cancerous cells. Some of the therapies help to reduce inflammation and other factors that may contribute to a cancer friendly environment in the body.

Other types of therapies support the psychological and emotional well-being of the patient.  

Studies have shown that various people around the world combine a number of Integrative Therapies in cancer treatment in order to alleviate the side effects of cancer treatment and boost their physical health after diagnosis with cancer.

This article highlights a number of therapies that can be used, either alone or in combination with other therapies to help alleviate the effects of cancer treatment on patients. They can also be employed to improve their quality of life:


Originally practiced in China, acupuncture involves inserting hair thin needles into various points in the body in order to influence energy flow. Acupuncture is known to reduce post-operative nausea and vomiting. It is also used to treat joint pain and loss of nerve sensation

Massage Therapy

This therapy involves the use of touch by using key strokes to apply pressure on the muscles and soft tissues of the body. Massages help in relaxation and comfort. It also helps to reduce nausea and fatigue.


This is an application of pressure to areas of the feet, hands and the outer ears. These areas are known to have a connection to the different organs and systems in the body. It is used to increase relaxation and comfort of patients. It also helps to relieve fatigue and nausea associated with conventional cancer treatments.


This is an ancient Japanese healing technique for stress reduction and relaxation and also promotes healing. It is administered by laying of hands on the patient, based on the idea that there is an unforeseen life force energy that creates and sustains all life.

Movement Therapy

These involve the movement of one’s body in a rhythmic manner. Examples of these movements include yoga, tai chi and regular exercises. Exercise help to relieve tired muscles and helps to reduce stress. Cancer patients who exercise regularly have high energy, have less fatigue when compared to those that are not active.

Expressive Art Therapy

Expressive art therapy has been showed to bring about positive changes in the mood of patients. These therapies increase the quality of life and sometimes help patients to relax. Some of these therapies include painting, creative writing, playing musical instruments as well as listening to music.


Meditation promotes the relaxation by resting the mind by experiencing the body’s natural ability to bring about calm feelings. Patients experience less stress and are emotionally balanced over a period of time. It is recommended to help patient to lower anxiety and high stress levels.

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Source: Dana Farber

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