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Naturopathic medicine for leukemia

naturopathic medicine

Naturopathic medicine for leukemia

Leukemia and its treatments may affect the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, bladder and nervous system in different ways, causing a variety of symptoms. These side effects may interfere with your treatment regimen and, ultimately, your healing.

Our naturopathic clinicians may recommend a variety of naturopathic therapies designed to help ease side effects like:

  • Cardiotoxicity: Certain antioxidants or amino acids may help to support the heart muscle, since some leukemia treatments can damage it.
  • Neuropathy: Some leukemia treatments may cause peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet). Certain amino acids, essential fatty acids, or vitamin complexes may help protect your nervous system.
  • Mucositis: Certain leukemia treatments may damage the cells lining the mouth, resulting in mucositis (mouth sores). Different mouth rinses, nutritional supplements and/or a baking soda/sea salt mouth rinse may help improve the healing mechanisms of the mouth.
  • Fatigue: Fatigue, or lack of energy, is a common side effect of leukemia. Vitamin and nutrient combinations and different homeopathic remedies may help to combat fatigue.
  • Nausea: Acupuncture treatments, acupressure, wrist bands, homeopathics and aromatherapy may help ease nausea caused by some chemotherapies and immunotherapies used to treat leukemia.
  • Diarrhea: Some leukemia patients experience diarrhea during treatment. Certain amino acids, nutritional supplements or homeopathic remedies may help to control diarrhea.
  • Constipation: Diet and lifestyle interventions, fiber supplements, essential fatty acids, stool softeners and hydrotherapy may help to ease constipation.
  • Skin rash: Various topical creams or ointments and other remedies may help to relieve skin irritation caused by certain leukemia treatments, such as radiation therapy.

Throughout your treatment, our naturopathic clinicians will monitor your supplement and vitamin intake to help you avoid potential drug-herb and drug-nutrient interactions.

What is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is an approach to health care that uses natural, non-toxic therapies to treat the whole person and encourage the self-healing process. Naturopathic clinicians treat a variety of conditions, including digestive issues, sleep disturbances and chronic fatigue syndrome.

As part of the supportive therapy services we offer, our naturopathic oncology providers may recommend therapies to help support normal metabolism and digestion during cancer treatment and help manage side effects, such as nausea or fatigue.

As part of the intake process, you may choose to meet with a naturopathic oncology provider, who will review your history and make recommendations from a wide variety of natural therapies. Your naturopathic oncology provider also will review current supplements to identify potential herb-drug-nutrient interactions.

Other natural therapies our naturopathic medicine team may recommend include:

  • Herbal and botanical preparations, such as herbal extracts and teas
  • Dietary supplements, such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids
  • Homeopathic remedies, extremely low doses of plant extracts and minerals
  • Physical therapy and exercise therapy, including massage and other gentle techniques used on deep muscles and joints for therapeutic purposes
  • Hydrotherapy, which prescribes water-based approaches like hot and cold wraps, and other therapies
  • Lifestyle counseling, such as exercise, sleep strategies, stress reduction techniques, as well as foods and nutritional supplements
  • Acupuncture, to help with side effects like nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, hot flashes and insomnia
  • Chiropractic care, which may include hands-on adjustment, massage, stretching, electronic muscle stimulation, traction, heat, ice and other techniques

Experienced care team

Our naturopathic oncology providers have extensive knowledge of the impacts of radiation therapy, chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, in addition to their expertise in the effects of natural therapies. As a part of your care team, they are in regular communication with your oncologists and other clinicians to help offer input on your treatment plan.

Personalized treatment approach

We personalize treatment plans to the individual based on each person’s goals and experiences. Your care team is available to help you decide which naturopathic medicine therapies may help achieve your goals. You may have one or more of the above therapies during the course of your treatment.

Naturopathic medicine

Dietary supplements and botanical medicines

Your naturopathic oncology provider may recommend nutritional supplements (e.g., vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes) and botanical medicines (e.g., herbs) for therapeutic purposes.

For instance, you may experience discomfort during or after eating, or problems with digestion. Some supplements can help support your body’s natural digestive process and minimize acid reflux, heart burn, bloating and gas.

Fatigue is also common. Supplements can be used to prevent and decrease fatigue from chemotherapy or the cancer itself. Supplements such as melatonin may help promote a healthy sleep pattern, which can help you feel more energetic during the day. Melatonin is also important for a healthy immune system.

Your naturopathic oncology provider may recommend ginger tea, ginger oil gel caps, candied ginger and other botanicals to help prevent or relieve nausea. In addition, your naturopathic oncology provider will work with your medical oncologist to determine if you would benefit from a pharmaceutical anti-nausea medication, such as Zofran.

If you are admitted into the hospital as an inpatient, the nursing staff will administer your supplements just like your other medications. Some nutritional, herbal and homeopathic supplements are available in both liquid and powder form if you have difficulty swallowing pills.

Safe use of supplements and botanicals

It is important to remember that vitamins, minerals, herbs and other therapies have strong effects on the body. Some supplements may interact with your medications or cancer treatments, or may be contraindicated for your cancer type. Your naturopathic oncology provider will work with you to ensure that the natural supplements you take are appropriate to your situation.

Throughout your care, your naturopathic oncology provider will monitor your supplement and vitamin intake to prevent potential drug-herb and drug-nutrient interactions. For instance, there may be supplements your naturopathic oncology provider will instruct you to avoid taking at certain times (e.g., during specific chemotherapy regimens).

The supplements and herbs available at our hospitals undergo a rigorous and extensive quality-assurance evaluation. Many of the supplements we recommend come from our own line of highly pure and potent vitamins, minerals and herbs. This line of supplements undergoes extensive testing to ensure they meet or exceed regulatory specifications for potency and lack of contamination.