- Question from Paultan: Why is it that when you have a conventional treatment like chemo or radiation, you have one at a time, but you can have massage, meditation, acupuncture, music therapy, etc. all at the same time?
- Answers - Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. Because God is good to us! Chemotherapy and radiation are staggered by days and weeks in order to allow our normal cells to recover while the chemotherapy works to destroy the cancer cells. Our bodies need time to come back to their normal state between the therapies, as our goal is to destroy cancer cells while maintaining normal function within the rest of the physical body.
Many of these complementary therapies work wonderfully together and enhance each other. At the same time, it's good to consider sequencing complementary therapies appropriately and asking each of your practitioners how they'd like you to time these therapies.
One example is that it may be best to have an acupuncture session and let it settle in the body, rather than follow it with a massage therapy session later that day. There may be other examples as well.
Mary Ellen Scheckenbach
When using multiple energy modalities such as acupuncture, Reiki, shiatsu, etc., it is important to have adequate space between them as Tracy mentioned. I usually ask people not to have another energetic intervention for about 72 hours. In general, I ask people not to do too much. The theory, right or wrong, behind these medicines is that they are inputting corrective information into the body. Too many in too short a time period can be confusing, because the body needs to sort out each input.
Sometimes when there is an attempt by an energy medicine to regulate a function, there can be a period when it appears there is an exacerbation, (symptoms flare up) and this process of "clearing out" of the function needs to run its course before another input is entered. I always ask people if they want to do multiple modalities to listen very carefully to their bodies and to follow the response that they're getting to not do too much.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Acupuncture and Touch Therapies featured Mary-Ellen Scheckenbach, M.Ac., Tracy Walton, L.M.T., M.S., and moderator Beth Baughman Dupree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about acupuncture and touch therapies.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2005.
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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