7 Complementary Therapies for Multiple Myeloma

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Evelyn Creekmore on February 23, 2022
  • senior couple embracing and smiling
    Multiple myeloma treatment goes beyond the bone.
    Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer caused by malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow. In addition to traditional medical treatment, many leading medical centers now offer everything from aromatherapy to acupuncture in a holistic approach to healing that supports the mind, body, and spirit. These complementary therapies, or integrative services, help many people with multiple myeloma feel less pain and stress. Learn more about complementary therapies and talk with your doctor about what sounds good to you.
  • weight lifts on floor
    1. Light to Moderate Exercise
    In a recent study of the link between multiple myeloma and exercise, nearly all participants with multiple myeloma said exercise made them feel better. Benefits included improved symptom management, relief from medication side effects, better state of mind, and more social engagement. Types of exercise included gardening, walking, golf, and Pilates. Keep up your favorite exercise as you complete your medical treatment or try something new. Consult with your doctor about the best way forward.
  • Mint oil
    2. Essential Oils
    Scientists have studied the effects of more than 100 essential oils on more than 20 types of cancer. More than a decade of evidence supports the anticancer actitivies of essential oils. Ask your doctor if other patients with multiple myeloma have reported any benefits of using them and whether you should give them a try. Keep in mind that if your treatment plan includes radiation or chemotherapy, your skin may be sensitive, and essential oils may irritate it.
  • Aromatherapy oils with medicinal plants
    3. Aromatherapy
    Nausea is a common symptom of multiple myeloma, but it can also be a side effect of chemotherapy. Aromatherapy can help with nausea and may also improve your mood and promote feelings of emotional and spiritual wellness. Essential oils are typically the basis for aromatherapy, but candles, lotions, and bath salts may also be used. If you’re interested in aromatherapy, it’s better to work with a qualified aromatherapist than experiment on your own. Ask your doctor for a recommendation.
  • Massage therapist giving back massage to client
    4. Massage
    The pain of multiple myeloma may be caused by a bone fracture or a tumor pressing against a nerve. Research suggests in addition to relaxing muscles, massage can help lessen pain, reduce fatigue, and help with the anxiety and depression that can come with coping with cancer pain long-term. For those with multiple myeloma, a massage with too much pressure can hurt your bones. Get your doctor’s advice on massage therapy before you begin.
  • Doctor holding acupuncture needle
    5. Acupuncture
    Like aromatherapy, acupuncture has been shown to help with nausea. Like massage, it can relax your muscles, too. With acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine, a trained practitioner inserts thin needles into specific areas of your body. Many types of medical professionals perform acupuncture, including licensed acupuncturists, doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists. It’s important to choose a provider with solid credentials and extensive training. Run your provider’s information by your doctor before you start therapy.
  • woman-meditation
    6. Meditation
    For those with multiple myeloma, the stress of ongoing pain management alone can make it hard to relax and keep you awake at night. Meditation can help you unwind and sleep better. It involves breathing and concentration exercises to relax your body a bit at a time. You can meditate alone or with others, in person or online. Many health organizations offer online meditation videos. Check one out to get a better idea of how meditation might work for you.
  • woman lying down on floor meditating with earphones
    7. Visualization
    For some people with multiple myeloma, using visualization techniques in combination with traditional pain medication helps ease the intensity of pain. Through visualization, you create a mental image that relaxes you. Use all five senses. You may picture a beach, for example, and concentrate on the feel of sand, the smell of seaweed, the taste of salt, and the sound of seagulls. Ask your doctor if a trained therapist can join your medical team or if community resources are available.
Multiple Myeloma Treatment | 7 Complementary Therapies to Consider

About The Author

Evelyn Creekmore has more than 15 years of experience writing online educational health content, including nearly 10 years full-time at WebMD, where she was the director of brand content. She holds an MPH in Applied Public Health Informatics from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and an MA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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Last Review Date: 2022 Feb 23
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.