Hospitals around the country are offering integrative therapies as part of comprehensive, collaborative cancer treatment. According to the National Center Complementary and Integrative Health Integrative Medicine is a total approach to healthcare combining standard (conventional) medicine with complementary therapies that have been studied and shown to be safe and effective.
Complementary and Integrative Therapies – (include but are not limited to) – Acupuncture, Expressive Art, Hypnosis, Massage, Mediation, Mindfulness, Music Therapy, Reiki, Tai Chi, Yoga and Qi Gong.
Complementary and Integrative Approaches for Cancer Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects –
“NCCIH-funded research has suggested that:
- Cancer patients who receive integrative therapies while in the hospital have less pain and anxiety.
- Massage therapy may lead to short-term improvements in pain and mood in patients with advanced cancer.
- Yoga may relieve the persistent fatigue that some women experience after breast cancer treatment.”
- A study by Birocco et al. found that Reiki (ray-kee) sessions (one to four half-hour sessions in this study) provided to 118 patients receiving chemotherapy in an outpatient infusion clinic were helpful in improving well-being, relaxation, pain relief, sleep quality and reducing anxiety. Those that received the full 4 sessions had a significant (P <.000001) reduction in anxiety. (Source: The effects of Reiki therapy on pain and anxiety in patients attended a day oncology and infusion services unit. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2012 Jun;29(4):290-4.)
- Self-Hypnotic induction decreased pain and anxiety in women undergoing large core breast biopsy (Source: Adjunctive Self-hypnotic Relaxation for Outpatient Medical Procedures: A Prospective Randomized Trial with Women Undergoing Large Core Breast Biopsy. Lang, E., et al. Pain. 2006 December 15; 126(1-3): 155–164.
Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective and safe adjunct therapy for cancer care for: chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Studies also suggest acupuncture may be helpful in managing cancer-related pain, chemotherapy-related neutropenia, chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, cancer fatigue, and radiation-induced dry mouth (xerostomia.) (Source: The Value of Acupuncture in Cancer Care. weeding, L. et al. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2008 Aug; 22(4) 631-viii. NIHMSID: NIHMS65572
Hospitals offering Integrative Therapies – in Boston include – Beth Israel-Deaconness, Boston Medical Center, Dana Farber, Mass General, and Tufts Medical Center. North of Boston – Lahey Healthcare (Beverly, Burlington, Danvers, Peabody, Winchester,) North Shore Medical Center (Lynn, Salem) and Mass General North (Danvers.)
Communicate with your oncology doctors and nurses about your use of integrative therapies for supportive care during treatment. Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use to ensure coordinated, effective and safe care.
Important to Note: Some integrative therapies, over-the-counter medications, herbs and supplements may not be warranted or even be contraindicated because they may negatively impact your care during treatment for cancer. Check with you doctor, oncologist, and oncology nurse prior to using to assure safe, effective care.
What You Need to Know About Complementary and Integrative Therapies and Cancer Care – the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Therapies conducts and supports research, and provides information about complementary health products and practices. Rigorous studies are conducted to determine the safety and effectiveness of therapies, herbs and supplements. For More Information – https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/cancer
6 Things You Need to Know About Complementary Therapies – https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/cancer
How to Find a Complementary and Integrative Practitioner –https://nccih.nih.gov/health/howtofind.htm