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Cancer has been part of the human experience for thousands of years. As far back as 400 BC, the Queen of Persia had surgery to remove a lump in her breast. Thankfully, modern research has lead to life changing improvements in cancer treatment. Conventional treatments, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, have become an important part of cancer care. Importantly, science and experience have also confirmed an essential role for natural medicine in modern oncology.

For many, choosing natural therapies to safely combine with conventional treatments can be confusing. As a naturopathic physician specializing in integrative cancer care, I provide patients with evidence-based natural therapies that are safe and effective during varying stages of treatment. There is a role for naturopathic care before and after surgery, to support patients receiving radiation or chemotherapy, and during survivorship following cancer treatment.

The naturopathic approach requires treating each patient as an individual. The various therapies employed in integrative cancer care should reflect the individual patient, the cancer that is being treated, and the conventional therapies they receive. Plans often include dietary change, nutritional supplements, botanical medicine and homeopathy.

Is there a difference between Integrative and Alternative cancer care?

An “alternative” regimen means that a patient has opted to focus on natural medicines and to decline conventional care such as chemotherapy or radiation. Alternative care is an area of controversy, with several recent studies associating this approach with unfavorable outcomes. On the other hand, an “integrative” approach combines both conventional care and natural therapies in an effort to benefit from both approaches and improve outcomes. Integrative cancer care incorporates evidence-based natural therapies and often addresses areas that are missing in conventional treatments. Adding natural therapies to strengthen the immune system and to improve digestion of food and absorption of vitamins and minerals will improve the body’s ability to heal. Herbal medicine and nutritional supplementation can minimize side effects from chemotherapy, such as fatigue, stress and sleeplessness.

Individualized Care

Whether you are concerned about developing cancer, have been recently diagnosed, are undergoing treatment or are in survivorship, it is important that an individualized plan is developed.

Dr. Jill Kenney is a Naturopathic Physician Park Avenue Medical Center in Trumbull in Integrative Medicine and Support Services and has a private practice in downtown Fairfield.

Dr. Kenney works with cancer patients at varying stages of their treatment to develop individualized treatment plans.


Warming Socks is a wonderful and effective treatment for any condition where there is congestion in the head and upper respiratory tract, to help with staying asleep, and many other health issues.

Warming socks should be done before going to bed and should be left on while sleeping. It's an especially effective and easy treatment for children during naptime too. This treatment works best if repeated for three nights in a row, or as instructed specifically for you.

Materials:

· Pair of light weight cotton socks

· Pair of thick wool socks/hiking socks

· Water, bathtub, towel

Directions:

  1. Make sure your feet are warm before applying treatment. If they are not, warm your feet first in a warm bath or take a bath. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first. Dry off feet and body with a dry towel.

  2. Next, soak cotton socks in icy cold water, wring them out well and put the socks on feet.

  3. Put heavy wool socks over the wet socks, being sure that the dry wool socks cover all of the wet cotton socks.

  4. Go to bed and leave on overnight or remove them once cotton socks are dry. You will be amazed!! They really will be dry in the morning!

Effects of the Warming Sock Treatment:

This treatment acts to increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. It has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections.

  1. Meditation/mindfulness/prayer: 1-15 minutes a day. Try an app: Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer

  2. Exercise: yoga, walk, run, pilates, weights. Exercise improves sleep, activates the parasympathetic nervous system.

  3. Diet: Consume foods that are nutrient rich in vitamins and Omega 3’s. High nutrient rich foods support the adrenals to make cortisol and supports brain function. Eliminate fried food, sugar, and alcohol. Spikes in blood sugar can create highs and lows in energy, increasing anxiety and fatigue.

  4. Adaptogenic Herbs: Balances and restores the adrenals which need support during stressful time.

  5. Spend time in nature and breathe! Screen time is linked to depression, anxiety, and ADHD.