Complementary therapies

For the great majority of tumour, the therapies of choice continue to be surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, in some cases also hormone therapy and immunotherapy. However, many patients do not want to rely solely on these conventional medical therapeutic methods, which are all generally scientifically assessed in their effectiveness.

They ask for complementary (i.e. additional) therapies in order to make their own contribution to the treatment of their disease and to mobilize their body's self-healing powers.

Naturopathy and complementary medicine have indeed got something to offer in this field, and it makes sense to take a closer look at this area of medicine. In our view, non-drug based methods - underestimated by most people -are at the forefront; for that reason, they are given central stage in the therapeutic provision in our Department of Oncological Rehabilitation and Aftercare. These include primarily:

  1. Diet: Nutritional factors play a major role in the development of many tumours. However, food and diet are also of enormous influence on the progress of the disease and the feeling of wellbeing, with the focus on different factors at different stages of the disease.
  2. Sport and exercise: Scientific studies on breast and colon cancer indicate that physical activity has a protective effect against the development of cancer. Side and after-effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, e.g. on the bone marrow, can be very positively influenced through exercise therapy, particularly through endurance sports such as running, swimming and cycling.
  3. Relaxation techniques: Sufficient sleep and regular periods of relaxation are important for the human organism. For many patients, it has been proven very beneficial to learn a relaxation technique such as autogenous training or progressive muscle relaxation (PMR - Jacobson method). Other possibly useful methods include meditation, yoga or concentrative exercise therapies such as Chi Gong or Tai Chi, designed to harmonize body, spirit and soul.

These three factors are also present in the traditional naturopathy, in what is known as "Ordnungstherapie" (literally: "order therapy" - the postulate of a life in balance, first stated by Sebastian Kneipp). However, they are also at the heart of the "Mind-body medicine" which has grown in significance in the US in recent years and also found ever increasing popularity in Germany. In addition to these measures which mainly concern lifestyle and behaviour, a range of other therapeutic procedures, drugs and food supplements are used, with differing views on their medical benefits. On this site, we can only give you a brief insight into the various therapies which are frequently used.

Mistletoe extracts

In Germany, mistletoe extracts are the most commonly prescribed complementary medication. In the treatment of cancer, they are generally injected subcutaneously two to three times a week.


Substances known as "free radicals" can be involved in the development and progression of cancers; they are able to cause damage to cells and to the genetic information in the cell's nucleus. The human body has protective mechanisms against the harmful effect of these free radicals. To that end, the organism requires different vitamins and minerals, known as antioxidants: the most important of them include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, carotenoids and the trace elements selenium and zinc.

Enzyme preparations

The medical use of enzymes has its origins in the traditional medicines of South America, Africa and Asia. Since the early 20th cent., preparations with enzymes from animal pancreas and from papaya and from pineapple plants have also been used in Western complementary medicine for the treatment of cancer.


Thymus extracts are produced from the thymus glands of calves or pigs. The thymus gland is a central organ of the immune system; these preparations are given to boost the body's defence system.

Mistletoe extracts  

Mistletoe extracts - International Pancreatic Cancer Centre

In Germany, mistletoe extracts are the most commonly prescribed complementary medication.