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Mesothelioma - Complimentary therapies

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28 Apr 2017

Coping with a mesothelioma diagnosis, whether you are the sufferer or the carer or family member of one, can be an overpowering life event.

Being told that you have mesothelioma is devastating enough and then having to understand and deal with treatments or lack of treatments, side effects of treatments or medication and the impact of the disease on everyday life can be both physically and emotionally overwhelming for everyone involved

There are good and bad days as many of our Clients and their family members tell us.

Everyone has their own unique way of confronting and coping with the feelings, anxiety and stress caused by living with mesothelioma, either as a sufferer or a carer. Some people find complementary therapies (whether done individually, with a partner or spouse or family or in a group setting) helpful to relax, to cope with some of their stress, to lift their spirit or mood and to bring about a sense of well-being. Some mesothelioma sufferers even find it helps them with symptoms.

There are a wide range of individual and group therapies available.

Recently, at the Mesothelioma in the Midlands Conference in Birmingham, I had the opportunity to hear Dr Simon Procter, the Director of Music Services at Nordoff Robbins, talk about the benefits of music therapy in cancer. You don’t have to be able to sing or play an instrument to take part in musical therapy. It is more about using the sound and music to express your feelings and to help you feel good, emotionally and physically. Dr Procter even managed to persuade the audience to participate.

Music therapy is delivered by trained therapists in specialist centres or in hospital or at a hospice. The therapy is designed around your interests and needs and can take place in a group setting

Music therapy will not interest everyone but those who have taken part do speak very highly of it.

Other complementary therapies that may be beneficial include:

  • Aromatherapy using essential oils in a variety of ways
  • Massage
  • Reflexology whereby specific reflex points on the hands or feet are stimulated
  • Therapeutic touch which promotes a close relationship with a therapist using touch and can lead to reassurance, comfort, warmth and security
  • Vibrational Essences are solutions synthesised from flowers, plants, trees, gems, crystals or other minerals that can be taken orally, topically applied, diluted in bathing water or sprayed throughout the air around the person or environment and can help ease emotions
  • Diversional Therapy encourages you to take part in creative activities to bring about a sense of well-being, such as drawing, painting, writing, knitting etc
  • Yoga
  • Meditation

This is only a snapshot of some of the therapies out there.

These approaches to help cope with the effects of a mesotheliom diagnosis could not only support some mesothelioma sufferers but also their carers, who are often family members. Providing care to someone can be both physically and emotionally draining, especially when the level of care needed can change dramatically with symptoms.

If you are interested in trying out any complementary therapies and suffer from mesothelioma then you should check with your specialist or lung cancer nurse before doing so just in case any treatment you are receiving or medication you are on could be affected.

Your specialist or lung cancer nurse may be able to refer you to centres, clinics or hospices that offer complementary therapies for mesothelioma sufferers and their carers or tell you what is available in your local area.



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