7 Complementary Therapies for Multiple Myeloma
- Multiple myeloma treatment goes beyond the bone.Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer caused by malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow. In addition to traditional medical treatment, many leading medical centers now offer everything from aromatherapy to acupuncture in a holistic approach to healing that supports the mind, body, and spirit. These complementary therapies, or integrative services, help many people with multiple myeloma feel less pain and stress. Learn more about complementary therapies and talk with your doctor about what sounds good to you.
- 1. Light to Moderate ExerciseIn a recent study of the link between multiple myeloma and exercise, nearly all participants with multiple myeloma said exercise made them feel better. Benefits included improved symptom management, relief from medication side effects, better state of mind, and more social engagement. Types of exercise included gardening, walking, golf, and Pilates. Keep up your favorite exercise as you complete your medical treatment or try something new. Consult with your doctor about the best way forward.
- 2. Essential OilsScientists have studied the effects of more than 100 essential oils on more than 20 types of cancer. More than a decade of evidence supports the anticancer actitivies of essential oils. Ask your doctor if other patients with multiple myeloma have reported any benefits of using them and whether you should give them a try. Keep in mind that if your treatment plan includes radiation or chemotherapy, your skin may be sensitive, and essential oils may irritate it.
- 3. AromatherapyNausea is a common symptom of multiple myeloma, but it can also be a side effect of chemotherapy. Aromatherapy can help with nausea and may also improve your mood and promote feelings of emotional and spiritual wellness. Essential oils are typically the basis for aromatherapy, but candles, lotions, and bath salts may also be used. If you’re interested in aromatherapy, it’s better to work with a qualified aromatherapist than experiment on your own. Ask your doctor for a recommendation.
- 4. MassageThe pain of multiple myeloma may be caused by a bone fracture or a tumor pressing against a nerve. Research suggests in addition to relaxing muscles, massage can help lessen pain, reduce fatigue, and help with the anxiety and depression that can come with coping with cancer pain long-term. For those with multiple myeloma, a massage with too much pressure can hurt your bones. Get your doctor’s advice on massage therapy before you begin.
- 5. AcupunctureLike aromatherapy, acupuncture has been shown to help with nausea. Like massage, it can relax your muscles, too. With acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine, a trained practitioner inserts thin needles into specific areas of your body. Many types of medical professionals perform acupuncture, including licensed acupuncturists, doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists. It’s important to choose a provider with solid credentials and extensive training. Run your provider’s information by your doctor before you start therapy.
- 6. MeditationFor those with multiple myeloma, the stress of ongoing pain management alone can make it hard to relax and keep you awake at night. Meditation can help you unwind and sleep better. It involves breathing and concentration exercises to relax your body a bit at a time. You can meditate alone or with others, in person or online. Many health organizations offer online meditation videos. Check one out to get a better idea of how meditation might work for you.
- 7. VisualizationFor some people with multiple myeloma, using visualization techniques in combination with traditional pain medication helps ease the intensity of pain. Through visualization, you create a mental image that relaxes you. Use all five senses. You may picture a beach, for example, and concentrate on the feel of sand, the smell of seaweed, the taste of salt, and the sound of seagulls. Ask your doctor if a trained therapist can join your medical team or if community resources are available.
Multiple Myeloma Treatment | 7 Complementary Therapies to Consider