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Although they are by no means any replacement to standard medically recommended breast cancer treatment options, complimentary therapies boost may be able to make your mind and body stronger during therapy.
Beyond the complimentary therapy topics discussed, breast cancer complimentary therapy groups help form social networks for anyone in breast cancer treatment and recovery. You can meet with a complimentary therapy group for ANY reason. Some women look to bond with others in breast cancer treatment plans. Others join to learn a new hobby, while many want to work out in a calm surrounding. Work out? It’s fine if going to the gym is the last thing on your mind right now. Complimentary therapy groups can help you begin.
Many studies show that exercising during – and after – breast cancer treatment can likely prevent it from reappearing and added stress. For instance, as the American Cancer Society’s article, Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors, shares, “In many studies, exercise improves:
And, “among breast cancer survivors, physical activity after diagnosis has consistently been associated with reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence and breast cancer-specific mortality.”
As, it continues, “some studies have also suggested that physical activity may even increase the rate of completion of chemotherapy,” it also highlights that, “the decision regarding when to initiate and how to maintain physical activity should be individualized to the patient’s condition and personal preferences.”
ROW places Chicagoland breast cancer treatment and survivors on a rowing crew. Devlin Murdock, ROW Operations & Programs Coordinator, explains that ROW lets “current patients and survivors get active exercise during their treatment.”
Murdock boasts, “Rowing is the ultimate team sport. It’s demanding when in the water; the only way the boat moves is when the team moves together.” He adds that ROW is a “unique support group” in that “patients and survivors aren’t sitting around talking about treatment. They don’t have to since everyone there has been through a similar experience. They’re part of a rowing team which can help them feel better and improve physical effects.”
Never been rowing? You can start now. As stated by Murdock, “A small percentage had previous experience and half weren’t athletic before” joining. Now, Chicago's cold weather is a valid fear, but as Delvin continues, ROW “offers year-round programs, using rowing machines” during winter months.
He ends, “While doctors can’t prescribe complimentary therapies, some research shows that constant exercise plan will help you through treatments.”
Saturday Night Live (SNL) fans may remember Gilda Radner and her character, Emily Litella. Gilda's Club Chicago was formed in her name after her fight with cancer. The club offers women and men with cancer a packed calendar of free mind, body and spirit activities that can be used as part of therapy.
Rebecca Fritz, LCSW, Program Director, Gilda’s Club Chicago proudly explains that they promote “member empowerment.” It offers psychosocial support, meditation, yoga and more in support of health and well-being for anyone impacted by cancer. In fact, Gilda’s Club Chicago offers workshops, support groups and more than 300 programs each month. Want to give tai-chi or yoga a try? You’ll find many levels and ways to help control your body during breast cancer treatment.
Yoga? Interestingly, studies show that “a targeted yoga intervention led to significant improvements in fatigue and vigor among breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue symptoms.”
Consider complimentary therapy as a key step toward making your mind and body strong while in breast cancer treatment. You may find these new activities don’t seem like therapy at all. In fact, they may help bring some normal into your day.
If you're meeting with a complimentary therapy group, we'd like to hear about your journey. What are you doing?
For more about treatments, click on the links below:
Originally published October 19, 2015; Revised 2019
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