Complementary therapies are types of therapies not scientifically proven but accepted as ways that may help treat a certain condition. Alternative therapies are used in place of conventional therapies and the risks may be unknown. You should always consult your treating clinician when considering complementary and/or alternative therapies. The following complementary therapies are examples that can be used in combination with conventional medicine for those with melanoma.
To maintain energy levels and enhance your immune system it is important to have a nutritionally balanced diet. This should include fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy carbohydrates that are low in fats and sugar (bread, pasta, rice, cereals) and protein (lean meat, eggs, milk, beans/lentils). Alcohol and caffeine should be kept to a minimum. Discussing your diet with a dietitian may be helpful.
Dietitians Association of Australia www.daa.asn.au
Exercise can have a positive impact on your mood and wellbeing but you should be active at a level that is comfortable for you. Even small amounts of activity may make you feel better and improve your sleep.
Evidence shows that physical activity can be effective in lifting low mood, improving sleep, lowering blood pressure and reducing stress.
Discussing your physical activity with a physiotherapist may be helpful.
Australian Physiotherapy Association www.physiotherapy.asn.au
Fatigue is commonly experienced by people with melanoma and can be a side effect of melanoma treatments. It is important to allow yourself adequate time to rest and recuperate. To manage excessive fatigue you should talk with your treating clinician.
Meditation and Relaxation
Research has shown that relaxation and mindfulness techniques can counter the harmful physical effects of stress. Methods to elicit deep relaxation include guided imagery, visualisation, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, massage, breathing techniques, yoga, Tai Chi and prayer.
Emotional, spiritual and psychological well-being
Ensuring a healthy mind and spirit are important and self-care is essential, especially when dealing with the stress of melanoma. Self-care is any activity that helps you maintain your physical, mental or emotional health and is best when practised routinely.
Connecting with communities of faith or accessing local counsellors may also help in anxiety and stress reduction as well as enabling avenues to discuss difficult and often avoided issues such as the meaning of life, death and dying.
“By having a short walk outside each day I feel better in myself and have noticed that I am less stressed and sleeping better at night.”