The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Non-pharmacological treatments for breathlessness

     Here are the results of a Cochrane review of non-drug options in advanced stages of malignant and non-malignant diseases.

    First, the details.

    • Reviewers included studies of the effects of non-pharmacological and non-invasive treatments to relieve breathlessness in patients with advanced stages of cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease, chronic heart failure, or motor neuron disease.
    • 47 studies in 2532 participants were included.

    And, the results.

    • There was high strength evidence that neuro-electrical muscle stimulation and chest wall vibration could relieve breathlessness.
    • Moderate strength for using walking aids and breathing training.
    • Low strength of evidence supporting acupuncture/acupressure.
    • Not enough data to judge the effectiveness of distractive auditory stimuli (music), relaxation, fan, counseling and support, counseling and support with breathing-relaxation training, case management and psychotherapy.
    • Most studies were conducted in COPD patients; only a few in other conditions.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded, “Breathing training, walking aids, neuro-electrical muscle stimulation, and chest wall vibration appear to be effective non-pharmacological interventions for relieving breathlessness in advanced stages of disease.”

    3/16/09 21:11 JR

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