Editor’s Note: This is one of an occasion series that will run on alternative medicine. If you or someone you know practices this method, email Stephanie Turner at sturner@aikenstandard.com.


When diagnosed with a chronic disease, one might use prescribed medicine to help him through.


However, there is another route – complementary and alternative medicine.


“Alternative medicine puts the patient more in charge of his healing rather than going to a doctor and getting drugs to do it,” Jackie Farnell, local specialist, said.


Complementary and alternative medicine encompass different methods such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, electromagnetic therapy, massage and aromatherapy.


Jackie and her husband Stuart Farnell are trained massage therapists.


“Stress has a huge affect on your health and well being,” Jackie said. “Massage is one way to release that tension in your body.”


Stuart has practiced massage for more than 45 years.


“I have spent the last 20 years in the alternative health care field practicing massage therapy, aesthetics, hypnotherapy and aromatherapy,” Jackie said via her website.


Jackie no longer practices, but Stuart does.


“People come to me with physical problems (that are) really not physical problems,” Stuart said. “It be could a spiritual or an emotional problem.”


To properly treat his patients, Stuart asks them some questions to learn more about them.


“Everyone has different problems,” he said.


Among the patients Stuart treats are those who have coped with breast cancer.


“I do lymphedema drainage,” he said.


Lymphedema is swelling caused by removing lymph nodes, which is part of the body’s immune system.


“There are hundreds of lymph nodes throughout the body. Each lymph node filters the fluid and substances picked up by the vessels that lead to it,” the American Cancer Society states. “During surgery for breast cancer, the doctor might remove one or more lymph nodes from the underarm area to see if the cancer has spread. When lymph nodes are removed, lymph vessels that carry fluid from the arm to the rest of the body are also removed. ... Removing lymph nodes and vessels changes the flow of lymph fluid in that side of the upper body. This makes it harder for fluid in the chest, breast and arm to flow out of these areas. If the remaining lymph vessels cannot drain enough fluid from these areas, the excess fluid builds up and causes swelling, or lymphedema.”


Jackie added, “It’s very painful.”


Stuart sees these patients once or twice a week to “have the (built up) lymph relieved from their systems,” Jackie said.


“The aim of this massage is to move fluid from the swollen area into an area where the lymphatic system is working normally,” states the Cancer Research UK organization.


Stuart also teaches how to massage horses.


Before Jackie retired, she created an aromatherapy program for people with Alzheimer’s disease.


“Aromatherapy, also referred to as essential oil therapy, can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit,” according to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.


Among the problems an Alzheimer’s patient might deal with are little to no appetite, insomnia, pain and depression, according to Jackie.


“I created a blend for each of those (side effects),” she said.


Her program ended up being used in more than 500 nursing homes.


“I loved doing it,” Jackie continued.


She left her business due to personal health reasons. She had developed peripheral neuropathy.


“Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder of the peripheral nerves – the motor, sensory and autonomic nerves that connect the spinal cord to muscles, skin and internal organs. It usually affects the hands and feet, causing weakness, numbness, tingling and pain,” states The Neuropathy Association.


To cope, Jackie turned to painting.


“Although it will be a while before I am completely back to normal physically, I have found a way (with the help of many) to return to an exciting and fulfilling life,” she said via her website.


If you are considering treating alternative medicine to treat your condition, consult with your doctor or a field specialist.


To learn more, visit www.hopkinsmedicine.org or www.nccam.nih.gov.


Stephanie Turner graduated from Valdosta State University in 2012. She then signed on with the Aiken Standard, where she is now the arts and entertainment reporter.