What is Integrative Healing?
Integrative Therapy is a total approach to care that involves both the patient’s mental and physical well-being. It combines the standard medical care with the wellness practices and therapies that have proven to be most promising in helping patients during and after the healing process.
Why Do People Use Integrative Therapies?
- To help cope with the side effects that come along with treatment, such as nausea, pain, and fatigue
- To build up energy through positive thinking
- To comfort and ease the concerns often associated with the treatment of cancer and other related stress
- To feel they are doing something more to help with their own care
- To include the mind, body and spirit throughout the healing process
- To take an active role in their own care
What Are the Different Types of Wellness and Integrative Therapies?
Mind-Body techniques are strongly recommended to reduce anxiety, mood disturbance, and chronic pain to improve quality of life. Moderate to high quality evidence is available. Benefits clearly outweigh risk and burdens.
- Meditation: Focused breathing or word repetition to quiet the mind.
- Guided Imagery: Imagining scenes, pictures, or experiences to help the body heal.
- Expressive Arts: Music, art and dance therapy
- Hypnosis: a state of relaxed and focused attention in which the patient concentrates on a certain feeling, idea or suggestion to aid in healing.
- Yoga: Systems of stretches and poses, with special attention to breathing.
Biologically Based Practices
Many patients ask about their current dietary and nutritional needs, in terms of what may need to change. The purpose of biologically based practices is to educate the patient and work through possible lifestyle changes. Research in diet and cancer prevention is based mainly on studies of populations consuming dietary components in whole-food form, with secure food supplies and access to a variety of food and drinks. Thus, nutritional adequacy should be met by selecting a wide variety of foods; and when able to do so, dietary supplements are usually unnecessary.
For patients who wish to use nutritional supplements, including botanicals for purported antitumor effects, it is recommended that they consult a trained professional.
- Diet and Nutrition Education
- Essential Oils
Manipulative and Body-Based Practices
Strongly recommended to reduce anxiety and/or pain and improve quality of life. There is moderate to high quality evidence available. Benefits clearly outweigh risk and burdens.
- Oncology Massage Therapy: Manipulation of tissues with hands. Massage has been shown to be effective in managing treatment related side effects which may include anxiety, fatigue and muscle tension. Massages are performed by an oncology-trained massage therapist.
- Reflexology: Using pressure points in the hands or feet to affect other parts of the body. This type of practice is often used on athletes to help the body heal from the wear and tear that is put on the muscles due to stress.
- Physical activity: Walking, biking, swimming, etc… based on patient’s ability and level of endurance. Regular physical activity and exercise improves quality of life, physical functioning, emotional well-being, and relieves fatigue. Health related benefits include cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, body composition, and everyday physical functioning.
Energy therapies are based on a philosophy of bio energy fields, are safe, and may provide some benefit for reducing stress and enhancing quality of life. The benefits clearly outweigh risk and burdens, or vice versa as there are absolutely no side effects. Safe when performed by qualified professionals. Many science disciplines are turning to the study of subtle energies in their quest to understand the phenomena of energy-based therapies.
- Acupuncture: A common practice in Chinese medicine that involves stimulating specific points on the body using specialized needles to promote health or to lessen disease symptoms and treatment side effects. Acupuncture is strongly recommended as a corresponding therapy when pain is poorly controlled, when side effects from other modalities are clinically significant, when chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting are poorly controlled or when reducing the amount of pain medicine becomes a clinical goal.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Related to acupuncture, but without the use of needles. A form of energy psychology that assists in releasing negative emotions causing energy blocks in the body. EFT relieves symptoms by an unusual (but scientific) routine of tapping with the fingertips on a short series of points on the body that correspond to acupuncture points on the energy meridians. The tapping serves to release the blockages and energy imbalances that are created when a person thinks about or becomes involved in an emotionally disturbing circumstance. When this blockage is released, the emotions come into balance and stress reduction occurs. Emotional Freedom Technique is one of many energy based modalities that is being increasingly studied for such purposes.
- Tai Chi: Involves slow, gentle movements with a focus on the breath and concentration.
- Reiki: Balancing energy either from a distance or by placing hands on or near the patient.