Integrative treatment means bringing the best of conventional medicine together with the best of therapies from other traditions. This approach looks at your health as a whole and from many different perspectives.
Consider your overall needs
In the case of MPNs, integrative treatment means looking past your blood counts and the medication you take to consider your overall health and broader physical and emotional needs, so that you can live better and extend your lifespan.
In a world where doctors have limited time and resources, you may find that you want to turn to additional resources for integrative care and to take charge of your own well-being. This might include but is not limited to:
- Your GP or primary care doctor
- A nutritionist
- A physiotherapist
- A respected coach, physical trainer or yoga teacher
Look for people with experience and credentials in caring for people with chronic illnesses.
The three essential supports for anyone with an MPN(or with any illness for that matter) are nutrition, exercise and stress management:
- Eating well is essential for anyone with an MPN. Eating a balanced and nourishing diet will keep your immune system strong and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Staying active helps to reduce the feeling of fatigue that many people experience with MPNs. It also keeps your heart and cardiovascular system strong to reduce the risk of clots, and to prevent depression, a common risk in people with chronic illness.
- Managing stress meditation, relaxation techniques and cognitive-behaviour therapy can give you emotional strength and tools to combat a chronic illness. Meditation and yoga have been proven to reduce stress and increase well-being in several studies of patients with cancer. Massage, acupuncture and acupressure can reduce or control side effects.
Herbs and dietary supplements
Many people prefer herbal remedies to conventional medications. As of this writing, we have not found any studies that suggest that any herbs or supplements offer a benefit to people with MPNs. You may want to take advice from trusted resources and choose carefully when considering herbal remedies and supplements, and discuss possible benefits and any potential drawbacks with your haematologist. MPN patients should be aware that many herbs and supplements may interact with the medication prescribed for their condition, and therefore ALWAYS check any new supplements will not interfere with the effectiveness of their treatment protocol.