Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices in the world that is still in use today to alleviate pain and suffering while promoting health and healing. This therapy has been used in China and other Asian countries as a component of the whole healing system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for over three thousand years.
The Community Cancer Connections Team continues to create decision guides about integrative therapies, written for people living with cancer, to provide more information about possible modalities that can be used to promote health and healing. Eventually, each integrative therapy listed in our directory will have a guide that includes instructive video and/or audio elements to foster understanding of the specific modalities.
The Alexander Technique (AT) is a movement education therapy used to help people increase awareness and “use of” their physical movements, breathing and postural habits. Through the practice of AT, people recognize the unconscious movements at the root of pain or anxiety, and learn to implement healthier spatial relation habits. Alexander Technique instruction utilizes verbal guidance, gentle touch and movement, and positive reinforcement.
Massage Therapy is a recognized health care technique used in physical therapy, chiropractics, and exercise science. In general, Massage Therapists press, rub, and manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. They most often use their hands and fingers, but may also use their forearms, elbows, or feet.
Meditation is a way to consciously focus your attention and become more aware of yourself without judging in order to enter a state of relaxation. There is growing evidence that supports the use of meditation during and following cancer treatment to help you cope with symptoms such as pain, anxiety, depression, stress, memory loss, and fatigue.
Neuromuscular Integrative Action or Nia is an aerobic workout that combines dance, martial arts and healing therapies to promote wellness, fitness and a healthier lifestyle. Empowering people of all fitness levels, Nia creates a unique movement experience that can be adapted to an individual and facilitates connection between body, mind, emotion and spirit. Nia is practiced with the intention that “Through Movement We Find Health”.
Qigong (pronounced “chee-gong”) is an ancient healing system from China composed of slow, gentle physical movements paired with breathing techniques and meditation practices. Qigong practice is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine. The Chinese word “Qigong” roughly translates to “life energy cultivation”.
Subtle and meditative, Reiki (pronounced "ray-kee") is a gentle, noninvasive, nonmanipulative form of healing generally used for stress reduction, relaxation, and wellness. It seems to decrease the stress response by increasing the influence of an alternate part of the nervous system involved in relaxation, known as the parasympathetic.
Shiatsu is a body-based therapy developed in Japan in the early 1900s. It uses “finger pressure” that consists of stretching, kneading, pressing, pulling, and tapping by a provider who uses their hands (palms and fingers or thumbs), elbows, knees, and feet. Its roots are ancient, consistent with the philosophy of Chinese medicine and the concepts of Yin/Yang, meridians, the five elements and Qi (or Chi energy). Shiatsu is most commonly used to treat is musculoskeletal and psychological problems.
Support groups are often recommended to cancer survivors and their family members as a way to meet and learn from others that may be having similar experiences. A support group is an opportunity to express feelings with those who are experiencing similar situations and to provide and receive emotional support. Support groups also serve as a way to facilitate learning and education and often incorporate a specific topic into their regular meeting times.
T’ai Chi Ch’uan (or Tai Chi) originated in China, and includes is a series of slow, fluid, purposeful, physical movements with controlled breathing and relaxation. These movements have been shown to improve strength, flexibility, and balance while focusing the mind and improving clarity. Research suggests that Tai Chi has positive effects on quality of life, heart and brain functions, and reduced fall risk in older people.
Therapeutic Touch (TT) is a technique in which the hands are used to direct human energy for healing purposes. There is usually no actual physical contact. Therapeutic Touch is a holistic, evidence-based therapy that incorporates the intentional and compassionate use of universal energy to promote balance and well-being. In addition to stimulating the body’s own healing ability, TT promotes relaxation, reduces pain and decreases anxiety.
Yoga is a movement therapy utilizing a combination of meditative practices, breathing techniques (pranayama) and body poses (asanas) to rejuvenate the body and calm the mind. The consistent practice of yoga may enhance personal well-being and produce a sense of deep relaxation within the practitioner.