Reishi mushroom is widely used in Asia and around the world as an immunostimulant. With extracts derived from both the cap and the stem of the mushroom, its biologic activity is thought be due to beta-glucan polysaccharides and compounds called triterpenes.
Music is a powerful tool that can evoke latent emotions, induce a range of emotional states, and enhance communication. It also offers a creative, lyrical, and symbolic means of addressing spiritual needs, and is increasingly used in end-of-life care.
Despite the widespread perception that herbal products are safe because they are “natural,” few of these products have been subjected to rigorous research. The potential risks associated with many herbal dietary supplements remain unknown.
A substantial number of cancer patients turn to unconventional agents used as anticancer therapies. However, “alternative cures” are unproved and may be harmful. They are not supported by clinical research and they can jeopardize patients’ lives, especially when patients delay needed care. Amygdalin, promoted as a popular alternative cancer cure for over 40 years, is used by many cancer patients. No solid data supports its effectiveness.
Despite the widespread perception that herbal products are safe because they are “natural,” few products have been subjected to rigorous research.
The recommendation to minimize sun exposure to prevent skin cancer has produced a pandemic of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D has generated considerable interest in the past decade, as accumulating evidence from both retrospective and prospective epidemiologic studies suggests an association between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of autoimmune, infectious, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as cancer.
Acai demonstrated antioxidant and apoptotic effects in in vitro and in vivo studies, but no human studies have been conducted. Despite the lack of supportive data, acai, like many herbal products, is promoted to cancer patients on the Internet, often with false claims of cure.
Massage is an ancient technique that involves manual manipulation of muscles and soft tissues of the body. It increases circulation and promotes relaxation. Massage offers important emotional and psychological benefits as well.
Acupuncture is an important component of traditional Chinese medicine. The practice originated more than 2,000 years ago. It involves stimulation of one or more predetermined points on the body with sterile, filiform, disposable needles, sometimes with added heat (moxibustion), pressure (acupressure) or electricity to enhance therapeutic effect. The needles are much thinner than the hypodermic needles used for injections.
Maitake beta- glucan extract obtained from the fruiting bodies of maitake mushroom, or Grifola frondosa, is widely used in Asia as a cancer treatment, typically adjunctively. Research to determine the mechanisms that underlie maitake’s anticancer effects is ongoing, as detailed at http://www.mskcc.org/AboutHerbs.