Alternative Therapy

Alternative pain management techniques

In addition to the traditional treatment options for mesothelioma — surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy — many patients with mesothelioma also benefit from alternative forms of treatment.  Alternative medicine treatments have not proved helpful in treating mesothelioma.  But alternative therapies do help many patients with controlling pain and achieving an inner sense of peace during what is understandably a very difficult time.  Alternative therapies are often a welcome distraction from the grueling regime of hospital visits, scheduled medication, and the overwhelming stress associated with a mesothelioma diagnosis.  Patients should speak with their doctors about the benefits of alternative therapy and whether such treatments may be added to their already-established treatment plan.

Among the alternative treatments that may prove helpful are the following: 


Acupuncture is helpful to control pain and involves the insertion of very fine needles into the skin at designated pressure points.  Acupuncture has been proven to relieve pain in many patients experiencing pain from a wide variety of medical conditions, including mesothelioma.


Aromatherapy uses aromatic oils, plants, and other substances in combination with massage and / or baths. The release of certain fragrances can bring on a heightened mood, which promotes good health and pain relief.

Breath Training and Sitting Near a Fan

Breathing techniques can be used to ease the sensation of breathlessness.  These are especially useful when a patient becomes breathless and begins to panic.  A nurse or physical therapist can easily teach these techniques.  Sitting near a fan and directing it toward the face can also work to ease a feeling of breathlessness.

Herbal & Nutritional Supplements

The natural medicinal aspects of many herbs have been useful in treating a variety of ailments.  Nutritional supplements and herbal remedies may be used together to provide the body with helpful vitamins and minerals for fighting off infection and other illness.


Increasingly, the use of hypnosis is being integrated into the treatment of cancer and mesothelioma.  Guided hypnosis sessions have been shown to cause substantial positive effects on many patients.  The therapist will speak in a gentle voice and help the patient to relax.  The therapist then assists the patient in concentrating on goals such as pain management and the reduction of stress.


Massage therapy involves the hands-on physical manipulation of the body’s soft tissue. Massage helps with relaxation and pain relief.  Different types of massage include Acupressure, Anma, and Balinese, which are all beneficial in different ways.  For patients with mesothelioma, massage can help to ease muscle tension and bring on relaxation.


Meditation is a process through which a person enters a state of deep relaxation.  It is frequently associated with Eastern spiritual practices.  Meditation is helpful because it allows patients to come to terms with the difficulties brought on by mesothelioma.  Patients often report that meditation fosters a sense of peace and well-being. 

Tens Therapy

Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is helpful for controlling pain in mesothelioma patients.  During the therapy, an electrical stimulation is channeled through different parts of the body.  The stimulation results in pain relief and increases the level of endorphins in the body, which promotes a feeling of well-being.  TENS Therapy is usually performed by a physical therapist, but with the necessary documentation for TENS equipment, the therapy can also be done in the patient’s home. 


Yoga combines physical movement with meditation to promote a heightened connection between body and mind.  Yoga is a practice of Hindu origin and is useful to induce both relaxation and contentment.