Acoustic Neuroma Management
with alternate techniques

  1. Slowing down tumor growth while wait-and-watching

  2. Chinese medicine -- herbal and acupuncture

  3. Dietary supplements and homeopathic medicine

  4. Shark cartilage

  5. Controlling AN: a patient's story

  6. Miscellania

(indented text by AN patients)

Slowing down tumor growth while wait-and-watching

I have been a practising herbalist for many years unfortunately when I found out about my tumour it was too late to begin any herbal treatment. Had I had the time to take a wait-and-watch attitude I would certainly used the opportunity to experiment with at least one of the many herbal tumour shrinking therapies. 

If the size and location of the tumour is such that it is not causing acute distress then certainly there is a window where many alternative approach may be successful in delaying or hopefully reducing the tumour maybe effective. Just as one approach to an AN is not effective or even appropriate for all, why should one herbal approach be the only one considered. Many expect one herbal approach to pass clinical trials on all people yet they are prepared to accept in the conventional medical world a number of treatments.

Any alternative therapy should be used in conjunction with a properly conducted W/W approach.  In fact, I could not imagine any form of wait-and-watching that did not include some form of herbal treatment that had a chance of at least slowing if not reducing the tumour.

Norm Ryder <nryder AT> 4/9/02

Chinese medicine -- herbal and acupuncture

Chinese medicine -- herbal and acupuncture -- which in fact I used successfully for months to handle bad headaches I was having before treatment of my AN.  Just be sure to go to an experienced Chinese herbalist, and be prepared to take the herbs for a long time (I've been on them for years).

My sister was diagnosed in August with either an acoustic neuroma or a facial schwannoma which is 1.8 cm in size. She had almost complete hearing loss and facial paralysis. She is currently seeking treatment with acupuncture and chinese herbs. After the first acupuncture treatment her hearing returned almost completely,   although she still has tinnitus. Her facial paralysis has greatly improved after about a month.

Any time that Western doctors have nothing to offer but stitches or some drug that seems to cause more problems than it cures, I consider going to a traditional Chinese herbal practitioner. I did go there when diagnosed with AN, and took herbs to avoid tumor growth for a while, but the AN was still growing! Then I scheduled myself for FSR and stopped the herbs. But -- during the months after I gave up, the tumor grew faster than before! So there is a chance I bought myself time with the stuff!

From Acupuncture Goes Mainstream (Almost) by Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, M.D., Parade Magazine:  "A National Institutes of Health Committee has concluded that acupuncture eases certain pain disorders and nausea, and it has recommended research into its effectiveness in other areas...  I encourage any properly diagnosed patient to try acupuncture when other treatments have not worked for such problems as chronic pain due to any cause (including arthritis); drug, alcohol or tobacco addiction; the nausea and vomiting that accompany chemotherapy; chronic headache; menstrual cramps; fibromyalgia (pain in the muscles and tendons); tinnitus (ringing in the ears); and for stroke rehabilitation." 

It sounds like a great idea. There are quite a few women who have been using it to control pregnancy nausea, those who are debilitated by pregnancy nausea and prefer not to use any drugs. We have a friend who is an artist, contracted severe arthritis at a young age (30ish) and has been through all kinds of traditional medicine. Tried acupuncture, has completely reduced all her symptoms except one pinky on her hand which still remains twisted. It was amazing.

I used acupuncture to treat headaches pre-surgery. It was quite effective. I was having chronic, daily headaches of some severity. I started acupuncture on a weekly basis and supplemented it with some Chinese herbal mixtures. I would like to call them tea, but they they fell way off on the wrong side of the taste scale .... (how do I make a wrinkled up expression in email?). After about the third treatment the headaches were noticeably less severe, and soon after that didn't trouble me enough to bother with.

I rarely get a "stabbing bone pain" behind the ear and if I do feel that sensation it is brief and not severe: before surgery that particular pain was prominent enough so that I used acupuncture (successfully) before surgery to handle that pain.

The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture is at 1-800-521-2262.   You can call them for information regarding practitioners of acupuncture in your area. It is also suggested that you call your state Department of Health to find out about how acupuncture is regulated in your state.

Dietary supplements and homeopathic medicine

(10/02) New research proved that curcumin, a substance found in tumeric (a food spice), works to reduce brain inflammation and may help stop tumors from growing.  The article is here.  They talk about cancer, but there are indications it also has potential for AN patients:

In the mice given curcumin, the immune system produced fewer inflammatory chemicals called chemokines... other tests have suggested curcumin may help stop tumors from growing the blood vessels they need to feed themselves.

We have heard some positive testimonials from AN patients:

I saw ... posts about taking a curcuminoid to help with the light headedness. I'm not sure but as soon as I started taking these, I feel much better.


I've been to an M.D. who is also a homeopath & there are remedies for benign tumors in their materia medica, he said.

The Gingko may have helped with the circulation around your tumor -- and I would not be surprised at all if it kept the tinnitus down.

I just wanted to tell you all that I had my surgery last August and that I found that taking Vitamin B and Zinc tablets for 2 months before the operation and then for 6 months after the operation helped me a great deal. My Dr said there was no proof that they would help heal nerve damage or bruising or the wound itself, but it couldn't hurt. He was very surprised with my recovery.

(Reuters/London April 3, 1999) Green tea helps to prevent cancer by blocking the growth of blood vesselsthat tumors need to survive and grow, researchers reported. The anti-cancer benefits of drinking the popular Asian tea are well documented, but scientists have not been sure how it works. Researchers of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm said the secret lies in a compound, called epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG, that blocks an enzyme necessary for cancer cell growth."  Of course AN is not cancerous, but this theme keeps coming up for tumors in general: finding a means to stop a tumor from growing by preventing it from developing or maintaining a blood supply.

Two weeks before surgery, you want to avoid herbs and vitamins that would prevent and impair bloodclotting capabilities. These include Vit E, Selenium, any oils like Evening Primrose or Fish Oil, garlic.  Aspirin prior to surgery it also may impair with bloodclooting. (Aspirin, by the way, is derived from willow bark, so I suppose I could refer to as an herbal supplement.)

Shark cartilage

My sister owned a health food store for several years. Whenever she hears of a tumor, shark cartilage is the first thing she advises. It is supposed to shrink tumors and have no side effects. I just informed her of all the details of this tumor this week and, guess what, it was the first thing she mentioned. I intend to try it starting this Monday.

Shark cartilage was the first thing that was recommended to me, also. I took it faithfully for about two years - 2 - 3 times a day. I have not taken it so much since then; but there has been no change in the tumor in 4 years since diagnosis.

The book "Sharks Don't Get Cancer'" and the follow up went into detail about the potential good effects of shark cartilage.

There are many health foods stores in the U.S. (GNC and others) who provide shark cartilage in pill format. They are large pills somewhat like vitamins. These are much cheaper than the powder that it being pushed by the shark cartilage suppliers on the net and other places. I think they are around $26.00 for 90. If you take 3 a day that is about 1 month's supply. However, no one seems to be able to tell me if these are as effective as the shark powder which is taken in megadoses or whether they are worthless.

The advisors for shark cartilage say it must have a fishy odor but not overbearing and the pills or cartridges should be white, not yellow or brown.

My AN increased in size dramatically while I was taking shark cartilage, so I have my doubts as to the effectiveness of the capsules.

Controlling AN: a patient's story

I was diagnosed 11 years ago when I was 43 years old.  My only symptom is progressive hearing loss.  My doctor (a great AN surgeon) recommended that because I have no hearing in the opposite ear that I "wait and watch".  I didn't know much about AN at that point. I did the following:

What happened? My tumor shrunk from 1.5 cm to .8 cm. I got complacent -- thought I had won the battle -- tumor grew to 1.2cm. Got back doing the right things for my body and it shrunk again to 1.1cm. No change now in 2 years.

One other thing, I have always had a positive attitude about this problem. I never saw it as monumental or something that should be removed from my body just because it was there. I have a female fibroid tumor also and I look on it the same way. I've got it but it's not a huge problem.

I don't believe that my method will work for the vast majority of people because of their mindsets and their approach to the AN itself.  But it works for me and my unique situation, mental imaging, positive thinking, AND a strong belief in my surgeon who believes in me.

D S, April 1998


The Hippocrates Institute in Florida has great reputation with controlling tumors, even terminal.

There is a therapist in Holland who has been known to shrink ANs, ones as large as 5 cm!

Homeopathy, hypnotism and some other well defined alternative medical treatments were already very known and accepted in Europe when I was a young child. So most of what we consider here as new and slightly revolutionary, have been in common use in most of Europe, and accepted into the medical system and also reimbursed by insurance. I, myself, had the ablation of the appendix done under a slight hypnotism, no sedative or anesthesia.

I have heard of some therapy for tinnitus through biofeedback. I have not yet tried it.

My wife been doing very well so far in controlling her symptoms via accupuncture, macrobiotics, Reiki, and homeopathy.

Here is a piece by an ANer who is also an alternative medicine practitioner.  It discusses aromatherapy, refloexology, arnica (homeopathic medicine), visualisation, and reiki.

Last Edited: Monday, November 18, 2002