Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

No alternative medicine treatments have proved helpful in treating mesothelioma. But complementary and alternative treatments may help control mesothelioma signs and symptoms. Discuss options with your doctor.

Mesothelioma can cause pressure within your chest that can make you feel as if you're always short of breath. Breathlessness can be distressing. Your doctor may recommend using supplemental oxygen or taking medications to make you more comfortable, but often these aren't enough. Combining your doctor's recommended treatments with complementary and alternative approaches may help you feel better.

Alternative treatments that have shown some promise in helping people cope with breathlessness include:

  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture uses thin needles inserted at precise points into your skin.
  • Breath training. A nurse or physical therapist can teach you breathing techniques to use when you feel breathless. Sometimes you may feel breathless and begin to panic. Using these techniques may help you feel more in control of your breathing.
  • Relaxation exercises. Slowly tensing and relaxing different muscle groups may help you feel more at ease and breathe easier. Your doctor may refer you to a therapist who can teach you relaxation exercises so that you can do them on your own.
  • Sitting near a fan. Directing a fan to your face may help ease the sensation of breathlessness.
Oct. 24, 2012