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Types of complementary therapy

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Complementary therapies are diverse. Some use touch, while others do not. Some focus on expressing feelings through art, while others integrate healthful eating and nutrition. Still others employ mental or physical exercise, or both.

Remember, your experience may be different from the experience of others you know, and not every therapy suits everyone. You should feel free to try a few before deciding which to pursue. Here are some of the most common types of complementary therapies.

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Body-based and energy therapies

Body-based and energy therapies rely on touch to relieve your body of stress, or by balancing qi (pronounced “chee”), a person’s vital energy. Energy therapy practitioners work with you to balance the life energy in your body, leading toward inner peace and focus.

Your personal beliefs, personality and comfort with a practitioner touching your body will impact the therapies you prefer. Some body-based and energy therapies are:

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Expressive art therapies

Finding a way to express yourself without having to talk about it directly is one way to relieve yourself while doing an activity you enjoy. Creative outlets may serve as a welcome distraction, giving you time to think about something other than cancer.

Depending on your interests and goals, you might choose to explore three common creative therapies:

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Diet, nutrition, and exercise

Diet, nutrition, and exercise play a big part in how well you feel and, sometimes, how well your body handles conventional medical treatments.

Integrative medicine programs often address these issues and other nutrition concerns as part of their approach:

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Mind-body movement therapies

Movement therapies are physical activities that people of all skill levels can do. They bring together creativity, strength, mental focus and sometimes spirituality. Most movement therapies share the belief that the mind, body and spirit are connected to one another and affect everyday stress, anxiety and happiness.

Some mind-body movement therapies are:

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Mind-body therapies with little movement

Like other movement therapies, these therapies focus on the connection of the mind and body. They teach that you can use your mind and thoughts to impact the well-being of your body.

Some mind-body therapies that feature little movement are:

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Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to create a world that understands there is more than one way to have breast cancer. To fulfill its mission of providing trusted information and a community of support to those impacted by the disease, Living Beyond Breast Cancer offers on-demand emotional, practical, and evidence-based content. For over 30 years, the organization has remained committed to creating a culture of acceptance — where sharing the diversity of the lived experience of breast cancer fosters self-advocacy and hope. For more information, learn more about our programs and services.

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