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WebMagic's™ is a comprehensive guide to online resources about Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

What are alternative or complementary therapies?

Standard or conventional therapies refer to mainstream medical treatments that have been tested following rigorous guidelines and found to be safe and effective. Alternative therapies are those which have not been proven to be effective in treating a particular disease but are taken instead of conventional treatment. Don't be afraid of therapies often described as questionable, unorthodox, unconventional, New Age, holistic, natural or herbal. Different people have different levels of knowledge on the multitude of therapies available, thus these terms can have many different meanings.

Complementary therapies are those that support more conventional treatments. Examples may include acupuncture or relaxation techniques to manage pain from chemotherapy or radiation treatments. These therapies do not cure disease but rather help to control symptoms and improve well-being. The use of both mainstream and complementary methods is referred to as integrative therapy.

Do not take alternative or complementary therapy into your own hands. Always talk to your doctor(s) before you take anything or start any new treatment. Even daily herbs such as echinachea or ginko can actually be very dangerous when combined with other medications. There are many alternative treatments that are quite safe such as aromatherapy, massage, biofeedback, yoga and more. But remember that these are designed to make your life more pleasant, ease pain and side effects or relieve symptoms.

For more information on alternative therapies, please visit the American Cancer Society at

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