- Question from Edith: We know that conventional medicine does not have a cure for cancer yet, but has anyone ever heard of a naturopath who actually cured a patient of breast cancer?
- Answers - Dan Benor I've not known of a naturopath doing that, but I've heard rare reports of faith healers doing that. I've also worked with people who may have helped to cure themselves, or at least prolong their own survival beyond what doctors expected. These people were in Dr. David Spiegel's group. They were in the group for support, and after two years, Dr. Spiegel was quite surprised that a number of them had survived longer than expected.
Marisa Weiss, M.D.
Dr. Spiegel's randomized study was looking at the power of support groups for women with metastatic disease. Most of these women received conventional medical treatment and also took part in regular support groups.
Stories of people achieving complete cures entirely from alternative methods of healing are relatively rare. When you hear of such a story, it's important to listen carefully to learn whatever you can that might be useful and be aware that such claims may be unproven. The presence, extent, and nature of the cancer or response to treatment may not have been objectively established. It's also important to realize that everyone is unique—and that people are looking for healing that goes beyond the cancer itself.
For example, after treatment is over, the fear of breast cancer recurrence can really take over and interfere with your quality of life. In such a situation, there is a great opportunity for healing—healing in this case meaning gaining control over this gripping fear and anxiety.
There are specific techniques for self-healing that are excellent for taming anxiety and stress. One of them, which I've posted on my web site at www.wholistichealingresearch.com, I've called "Whee." This is in the spectrum of acupressure for self-healing. People will touch various acupressure points on their bodies while reciting an affirmation. This is also helpful for dealing with pain.
An affirmation is a statement of a problem followed by a statement that is strongly positive. An example would be: "Even though I have this pain, I love and accept myself wholly and completely, and I know that God loves me wholly and completely, too."
- Patricia Johnson In my practice, I have found the fear of recurrence to be very prominent for the first several years after treatment. I have also found that reassuring women that this fear is normal is often helpful. I find that small support groups are extremely helpful in allaying this anxiety. Women who have the opportunity to speak with other women who are long-term survivors find the experience very reassuring.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. Expressing your fears and concerns to someone you trust is very therapeutic. Holding it in creates a lot of internal pressure and chaos. Getting answers to your questions can also make a big difference, as can meditation, imagery, and visualization, among others.
- Dan Benor Spiritual awareness and healing can also help in a number of ways. The 'laying on of hands' (a therapeutic method of touching), Reiki, and other forms of healing can directly alleviate symptoms of pain and anxiety. They can also open the person receiving the healing to greater spiritual awareness. This can be helpful on many levels.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Complementary and Holistic Treatments featured Daniel Benor, M.D., Patricia Johnson, M.D., and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about what complementary and holistic treatments are, how to find reliable practitioners, and which might be the best treatments for you.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2002.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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