Alternative Therapies Could Help Young Cope With Cancer Treatment

09/20/2011 06:20 pm ET | Updated Nov 20, 2011
  • Amanda Chan The Huffington Post

To help young cancer patients deal with the painful and grueling side effects of treatment, some hospitals are offering alternative therapies as a way to cope.

At Montefiore Medical Center in New York, for example, pediatric oncologist Dr. Karen Moody heads up the "Impact" program that offers acupuncture, nutritional counseling, aromatherapy and yoga to young patients, The Early Show reported. The program, while not a replacement for traditional cancer treatments at the hospital, provides another way of helping to manage pain and symptoms from side effects.

Cancer treatments often involve "getting chemotherapy, needle sticks, [and] I think our program has been indispensable for helping children cope with those interventions," Moody told The Early Show.

Montefiore is just one of a growing number of hospitals that are offering alternative therapy services to patients. In fact, in a survey released this month, 42 percent of hospitals around the U.S. said they offer at least one form of alternative therapy to its patients today, the Los Angeles Times reported. Offered services include homeopathy, meditation, relaxation training and chiropractic care.

Just four years ago, the percentage of hospitals that offer these kinds of services was 37 percent, according to the LA Times.

"Hospitals have long known that what they do to treat and heal involves more than just medications and procedures," Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and patient safety at the American Hospital Association, told the LA Times. "It is about using all of the art and science of medicine to restore the patient as fully as possible."

Recently, a review of studies showed that music therapy helps to reduce anxiety and pain for cancer patients (used in conjunction with typical cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy), Txchnologist reported. The review included 30 studies with 1,891 cancer patients.