managing chemotherapy & radiation

As with surgery, remaining calm and peaceful is a key part of keeping your body strong to recover from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. There is also a simple but powerful visualization technique based on the ancient principle of yin and yang (Nature’s complementary yet opposing energies). It can help rebalance your body after these treatments.

Special Taoist Visualization:
As you undergo chemotherapy or radiation, imagine you are under water and the moon is shining above your head. Imagine the cool, healing light of the moon flowing through your entire body. Immediately after treatment, imagine the sun is beaming healing energy deep into your body. By focusing on these alternating healing energies, you are summoning up Nature’s powerful healing vibrations. (Do not reverse these visualizations.)

Using Herbs and Herbal Formulas

Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes that an organ has several aspects beyond its physical structure. Importantly, it understands its energetic function. Often, this function is out of balance for years before physical problems appear or are detected in lab tests. In fact, Western medicine theorizes that most breast cancers have been in place for about eight years before they’re detected.

For many centuries, TCM has identified specific herbs that are beneficial for treating the underlying internal conditions that we label as breast cancer. Importantly, they have also used herbs to prevent this condition.

Herbs (many are prescribed foods but are used traditionally in an herbal context) such as dolichos seed, coix seed, red sage root, psoralea fruit, and tangerine peel have been included in herbal formulas for hundreds of years. These herbs help the organ systems related to breast health and breast cancer—Liver, Lung, Stomach, and Kidney—function well. When these organs function well and in harmony, there is little chance of breast cancer developing or recurring.

Classical Chinese Herbal Formulas Work as a Team

Sometimes Chinese herbs are used individually; most often they are used in a formula of a combination of herbs. These formulas have been crafted to work on the underlying cause (or causes) of a health problem. The formulas must also take into account who they are prepared for, where that person lives, and when they will be taken.

Unlike a targeted “one bug, one drug” approach of modern medications, TCM herbal formulas work as a team. Each herb performs its individual role to support the overall purpose of the whole formula. Changing just one herb—adding or removing it, or changing the amount—changes the entire formula. TCM herbal formulas function like a football team; Western drugs function like a tennis player.

The Real Power Behind Herbal Formulas

While the formula is important, of equal importance in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is who makes and dispenses it. The level of energy and understanding of the doctor or herbalist are key to the treatment’s efficacy. With a deep level of understanding of your body and its unique vital energy, the right practitioner can identify the cause of your problem and know which herbs can help you.

A number of conventional practitioners have experience working with breast cancer patients on chemotherapy and radiation protocols who are also taking TCM herbal formulas. They have experience with the results of this complementary approach. Herbal therapy can and does provide beneficial adjuvant therapy to help support patients undergoing these treatments.

Using Self-Healing Actions to Alleviate Side Effects

Besides taking specific herbal formulas, there are other self-healing actions that can help lessen the tremendous side effects of chemotherapy and radiation: