How long until complementary therapies work?


Question from Joan: How long will it take for these therapies to take effect? And how will I know they are working?
Answers - Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. Many patients feel the effects of complementary therapies during the sessions themselves. As Mary Ellen stated before, there are so many types of complementary therapies that the individual results will depend upon the actual therapies being performed. Patients have told me of their experiences when receiving Reiki massage, reflexology, acupuncture, etc., that they felt a very profound transformation. I believe this to be the beginning of their healing process. Knowing whether or not they're working is something the individual themselves would only be able to gauge in the feeling that this process invokes.
Tracy Walton I agree with everything Beth said. My clients tell me that they do feel effects during the massage sessions and soon afterwards. I think if you sleep well that night and deeply, and feel some ease in anxiety and an increase in well-being, you know that massage therapy has had an effect and in some way met you where you are on your journey. Clients tell me they feel really fully seen and felt and heard during this very important time in their lives by their massage therapist. If you're seeking a long term reduction in muscle tension, that may take several sessions to manifest.
Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. Regardless of what therapy someone is receiving, I believe the initial connection with the human spirit of the therapist or physician is a very profound experience when it takes place. That can sometimes, in and of itself, initiate this process.
Mary Ellen Scheckenbach From a very practical standpoint, acupuncture is often used to treat symptoms associated with chemotherapy and radiation. Although the side effects of chemotherapy are not eliminated, hopefully, they are greatly reduced. Hopefully the recovery time after individual chemotherapy sessions and after the courses of radiation and chemotherapy is quick. I like it best when my patients say to me, "I'm not sure why I did acupuncture, because I never really felt that bad!"
Tracy Walton Reiki, which can involve hands-on touch, is a really potent therapy for people during cancer treatment. I heard one story of a person who chose to have a Reiki practitioner with her during her chemotherapy infusions. She swore by the ability of the Reiki and the practitioner to get her through that time with a minimum of side effects. Another person who chose to have energy therapies later in the day after her infusion felt it made the difference between her tolerating chemotherapy enough to continue working at her job and not being able to do that.

On Wednesday, March 16, 2005, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Acupuncture and Touch Therapies. Mary-Ellen Scheckenbach, M.Ac., Tracy Walton, L.M.T., M.S., and moderator Beth Baughman Dupree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about acupuncture and touch therapies.

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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