Homeopathy and Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma and other cancer patients often turn to alternative medicine to complement conventional treatments like chemotherapy and surgery. Patients are searching for ways to have greater control of their care. Patients are also looking for ways to feel better, both mentally and physically. While there is no evidence that homeopathy is an effective cancer treatment, many patients turn to homeopathy for relief from anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain, and other symptoms and side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is an alternative medical practice developed more than 200 years ago by German physician Samuel Hahnemann. Hahnemann theorized “like cures like.” In other words, if a substance produces a specific symptom, that substance can be used to treat the same symptom in a patient. He also believed that diluted substances become more potent, increasing their healing power.
Based on this philosophy, homeopathic practitioners use a range of highly diluted substances, including minerals and herbs, to treat patients. To make homeopathic medicines, a practitioner crushes the substance and dilutes it in a liquid. This liquid is then used to make the dilutions used to treat patients. Some substances are actually toxic. However, they are diluted to such degree that they pose no risk.
Why Cancer Patients Use Homeopathy
People turn to homeopathy for a number of reasons. For mesothelioma and cancer patients, there is no hope of curing the disease with homeopathic medicine. However, many patients report relief from symptoms and thus experience an improved quality of life. Most who try homeopathy are seeking symptom relief. Others are seeking control over their health care.
For cancer patients, symptoms of the cancer and the side effects of treatment range from uncomfortable to debilitating. A homeopathic practitioner may be able to relieve the intensity of some symptoms, especially pain, fatigue, and insomnia. Homeopathy is also used to help alleviate sore mouth caused by chemotherapy, skin sores caused by radiation therapy, and mental health symptoms like depression and anxiety.
Homeopathy for Symptom Relief
There is no evidence that homeopathy has any actual impact on cancer. However, many patients report feeling better after homeopathy treatments. Research into how its effectiveness is mixed. Some researchers believe homeopathy has a placebo effect. Because the patient expects to get relief, they do. There is nothing wrong with the placebo effect. It can actually be a very powerful healing tool.
There are also studies that show homeopathic remedies do relieve symptoms. For instance, several studies found that a homeopathic skin cream helped prevent skin soreness often experienced after radiation therapy. These studies also found that a homeopathic mouthwash could relieve soreness caused by chemotherapy.
One small study found cancer patients being treated with traditional medicine in conjunction with homeopathy experienced less fatigue and better quality of life than patients who only received traditional treatments. Another small study of just nine women found a homeopathic injection could relieve pain in breast cancer patients.
Boosting the Immune System to Fight Cancer
There is some interesting research hinting at the possibility that homeopathic remedies could boost the immune system. If this is true, it could help fight cancer. In one study, researchers used several homeopathic remedies against breast cancer cells in the lab. The remedies slowed and stopped the growth of some of the cells, even causing some cells to self-destruct. The research is considered very early, but warrants further study. Another very small study found that certain homeopathic remedies enhanced the ability of certain immune system cells to kill cancer cells.
Is Homeopathy Safe?
While research results are mixed, it is generally considered safe. Studies have shown that administered by a trained practitioner, homeopathic remedies are very low risk. It is always important to speak with your doctors before trying any new treatment. However, homeopathy is unlikely cause any harm.
What to Expect During a Homeopathic Session
If you are living with mesothelioma and have considered trying homeopathy, speak to your doctors first. They will know if there is any reason you should avoid homeopathy. If they give you the green light, they may also be able to help you find a qualified practitioner.
The first visit to a homeopath will consist of a lot of questions. Your homeopath will need to know about your cancer symptoms and treatments. as well as your emotional state and how you are sleeping. Your first visit may take as long as 45 minutes. The homeopath will give you a set of homeopathic remedies and instruct you on how and when to take them. It is possible to find some over-the-counter homeopathic remedies, however it is best to work with a trained practitioner. After your first visit, you will probably come back regularly for check-ups and remedy adjustments as needed.
Homeopathy is often a controversial topic in medicine. Some believe fully in its powers to heal and bring relief. Others strongly state there is no evidence that it does anything at all. In spite of mixed reviews, homeopathy is increasing in popularity and many report homeopathic remedies help them feel better. As a mesothelioma patient, you may experience uncomfortable and painful symptoms and side effects. Homeopathy could be a source of relief. Talk to your doctors about trying homeopathy, but be sure to work with a trained practitioner. You may just find that homeopathic remedies bring you relief and improve your quality of life as you battle cancer.
Page Edited by Dave Foster
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