Acupuncture is an effective form of medical treatment that has evolved into a complete holistic health care system. Practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine use this noninvasive treatment method to help people become well and stay well. By definition, this integrative cancer treatment involves the insertion of hair-thin, sterile needles into the skin at specific locations called acupoints, which in turn channel the flow of energy or "Qi" throughout the body. When the disruption to QI is prolonged or excessive, then illness, pain or disease can set in. The Sari Center offers acupuncture in collaboration with modern medical care in an effort to reduce the symptoms that occur as a result of a blockage or imbalance of Qi.
The regular use of acupuncture for cancer patients has been known to relieve chronic pain, fatigue, nausea, and other side effects related to treatment and disease. Acupuncture treats the whole person, not just the disease. The practice of acupuncture promotes natural healing by enhancing your immunity and physical and emotional health. Acupuncture practitioners take a holistic approach to cancer care. This means that not only will your symptoms be considered, but also your lifestyle, emotional state, and overall health. Your whole being is taken into consideration while you work together to improve your symptoms and manage your side effects.
One key to the success of acupuncture treatment is its profound impact on helping the body to relax in order to ultimately overcome other symptoms such as depression, anxiety, tension and stress. Acupuncture is extremely safe. It is an all-natural, drug-free therapy, yielding no side effects except feelings of relaxation and well-being. As acupuncture begins to reduce these symptoms, a patient can learn to cope with and manage their pain and other disease-related ailments more effectively.
Many people associate getting a massage with a luxurious spa, but did you know that massage therapy, in combination with traditional cancer treatment, has the potential to influence the body in many ways? Massage is much more than the 'just feels good' service. Massage relieves muscle tension and soreness, and actually causes the body to release its natural painkillers. Additionally, massage aides in the elimination of toxic substances from the body, thus reducing stress. Although massage does not cure disease, it can help a patient enter into a meditative state, allowing easier access for a reduction of stress, pain, anxiety and other symptoms related to illness and treatment.
Therapeutic massage is one of the oldest health care practices, dating in the U.S. back to the 1850's. Research indicates that cancer patients who integrate massage therapy into their treatment regimen report improvements with anxiety, pain and fatigue, a reduction in swelling, improvement of lymphatic drainage, in addition to feeling more relaxed and comfortable. There is also evidence that massage can help boost the immune system as well as support individuals experiencing post-operative discomfort.
There are a multitude of benefits of this type of integrative cancer therapy. Some of the physical/medical benefits include: improved circulation, improved flexibility and range of motion, increased blood supply and nutrition to muscles and organs, a boost to the immune system, improved breathing, and speedier recovery from injuries and surgery. In addition there are many mental health benefits to massage: stimulation of endorphin release, increased mental relaxation, better sleep, reduced anxiety and stress, and uplifted spirit. Massage soothes the body, calms the mind, and revives the spirit.
When we examine the results of the use of massage therapy with people living with cancer, we find that massage increases the effectiveness of traditional medical treatment. Massage therapy can ease side effects by reducing pain and fever, restoring sensation by stimulating nerve endings to reduce neuropathy, slowing the rate of scar formation, preventing atrophy from forced inactivity, relieving lymphedema, and eliminating toxins from the body.
Lymphedema Treatment is a combination of education and hands-on treatment that helps patients learn to successfully manage lymphedema in their lives. Lymphedema is a condition that can happen to cancer patients when lymph fluid builds up in the body, resulting in swelling and other possible symptoms. A person's risk for developing lymphedema depends, in part, on the type of procedure or surgery that was done, whether or not lymph nodes were removed, and how the body heals.
Lymphedema Treatment works to reduce side effects which usually develop under the skin of the hand, arm, breast or torso, usually on the same side as the cancer. Treatment is typically a four-part process involving a combination of manual lymphatic massage, compression bandaging, skincare work, and exercise, depending on the degree of edema.
Lymphatic Massage, in the treatment of lymphedema, is a specialized hands-on technique that gently stimulates the action of lymph vessels to move excess lymphatic fluid and protein from a swollen area to a part of the body where it can drain more efficiently. After lymphatic massage, the therapist wraps the area in compression bandaging, which is needed to help the tissue with fluid reflow. Depending on the extent of the swelling, patients are encouraged to commit to follow-up care as often as needed to control the swelling and soften the tissue. When the edema is under control, or in the cases of early onset lymphedema, a compression garment is advised to be worn during the day. Bandaging or use of a "night" sleeve is encouraged during sleep.
The Lymphatic Massage Therapist at the Sari Center is specially trained, licensed and certified to ensure that our patients are being treated according to industry standards. Your lymphatic therapist will monitor your skin closely and recommend the best ways to clean, skin brush, and moisturize the affected area. Also, self massage and lymphatic exercises that can be done at home will be suggested to promote continuity of care and long-term management of this condition.
Lymphatic Specialist: Christine Morgan, LMT, CLT
The interdisciplinary team at the Sari Center supports the collaborative effort of educating cancer patients on the benefits of a healthy diet for cancer management and survivorship, especially right at the onset of diagnosis and treatment. The Sari Center has registered dietitians who specialize in oncology-specific nutrition practices. As complementary integrative therapists, the dietitians comprehensively assess an individual's needs and offer appropriate recommendations to promote disease management during and post-cancer treatment.
Nutrition is an important component to cancer treatment and prevention. During treatment, optimal nutrition can help improve strength and increase energy as well as preserve muscle mass. Some of a cancer patient's identified nutrition management issues might include nausea, vomiting, suboptimal appetite, bowel irregularities, malnutrition, and/or general consultation on diet and exercise. Research has been done to determine how food choices can help a cancer patient's chances to improve survival. The dietitians are specially trained in providing individualized nutritional support through all stages of illness, treatment and beyond, supporting each patient and family member with a goal of attaining optimal quality of life for all.
To start, the dietitian will obtain a detailed diet history. Using this information, realistic meal plans will be formulated to incorporate the right foods to achieve nutritional goals while a patient is in treatment. Specific foods and recipes may be suggested to increase intake, and suggestions for meals and snacks will be given for foods that may be better tolerated. Conversely, after treatment, weight maintenance may be the targeted objective. Again, the dietitian together with the patient will create goals to help maintain or lose weight and lower the risk of future recurrence. Additional benefits to consulting with the Sari Center dietitian can include improved mood, reduced stress level, more energy, and less pain. In conjunction with medical treatment, nutrition management is an instrumental component of enhancing a cancer patient's life, especially when paired with daily fitness activity.
The practice of hypnotherapy is older than recorded history. Scientists, physicians and researchers have been using this practice as a component of patient care since the 1800's. Although the history of hypnosis is colorful and controversial, it is gaining acceptance in modern medical communities as a legitimate technique for altering behavior, transforming negative thinking, and helping the body heal itself. While there is some variance within the medical community as to how exactly hypnosis achieves positive health outcomes, there is no argument as to its value.
Research indicates that changing your thinking changes the brain, which in turn changes a behavior or a physiological response. Our brains respond to positive suggestions, which ultimately facilitate the healing process. Hypnotherapy lends to a level of altered consciousness where distractions are blocked, allowing a person to become completely relaxed while remaining in total control. Hypnotherapy involves unlocking the subconscious mind and changing the existing cues that promote anxiety and pain into improved patterns of relaxation and healing.
The hypnotherapy program at the Sari Center offers a combination of hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Life Coaching techniques. This work helps people heal their minds and bodies, many of whom are chronically ill and experiencing significant levels of pain, anxiety and distress in their daily lives. Whether or not hypnosis works by releasing the brain's natural pain killers, or via the power of suggestion through the unconscious, the end result is the same: hypnosis is a means of reducing pain, promoting relaxation, and decreasing stress. Our hypnotherapists are dedicated to helping patients improve their quality of life and facilitating the healing process.
The interdisciplinary team at the Sari Center encourages cancer patients to consider the integration of hypnotherapy in conjunction with their traditional medical treatment, as a means of enhancing overall quality of life. Hypnotherapy at the Sari Center exists strictly as a coping strategy to help cancer survivors deal with pain and illness. As with all integrative therapies, our goal with hypnotherapy is to support a patient and family's successful treatment journey in collaboration with the medical providers.
Hypnotherapist: Susanne Hilton, CHt
By definition, Healing Touch is a biofield therapy that is an energy based approach to creating a sense of peace and well-being. This healing practice is designed to support a cancer patient's journey through treatment and into survivorship by the use of light touch to achieve emotional and physical balance. The method of HT provided at the Sari Center is unique in that it integrates holistic principles within a professional medical model which also educates and empowers our patients. The HT practitioner engages in this form of shared energy therapy while the patient lays fully clothed on a treatment table. The practitioner gently glides her hands over various parts of the body based on the intuitive process that occurs in energy work.
A form of Energy medicine, Healing Touch is an ancient Eastern healing technique used for stress reduction, and sometimes pain relief. It is a relaxing, nurturing energy therapy that assists in balancing physical, emotional, mental & spiritual well-being. It is used in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, particularly as it enhances surgery recovery and accelerates wound healing. HT works to improve the body's natural ability toward balance; it is completely non-invasive and safe.
Healing Touch has been found to be effective in helping every known illness, used in conjunction with medical treatment to relieve stress-related side effects and even strengthen the immune system. There are no known contraindications for this practice. This integrative therapy has been proven to be an excellent complement to traditional forms of cancer treatment, as it is specifically recommended for people with chronic illness and stress. The interdisciplinary team at the Sari Center encourages you to engage in Healing Touch regularly, to support your body's natural healing processes.
Therapist: Lori Wyzyykowski, RN, HNC, CHTP/L
Therapeutic yoga provides modifications to meet individual needs; anyone can benefit from this practice! Yoga is an ancient practice that is used to create and maintain balance in the body, mind, and spirit. Through a combination of body postures and controlled breathing exercises, yoga helps us achieve total peacefulness. Yoga is an aid to maintaining health and can also support the healing process in a variety of ways. A regular yoga practice can: ease muscle tension, improve circulation, improve concentration and memory, increase flexibility and balance, ease chronic pain and anxiety, tone and strengthen the body, and support proper functioning of all body systems.The Registered Yoga Teachers at the Sari Center teach their students how to use the techniques they have learned in class as an ongoing self-care practice at home. Individualized attention and instruction is given to each participant to address specific needs and issues. Beginners and individuals of all ages, stages, and conditions are encouraged to practice yoga regularly as a complementary therapy to help reduce stress and anxiety, and to promote mind-body awareness and healing. In collaboration with medical treatment, yoga can greatly impact a person’s ability to mentally cope as well as achieve an overall improved physical, psychological and spiritual well-being.
Instructors: Priyanka Shanbag, Shari Jesteadt and Adam Fox
Stretching & Flexibility
The Stretching & Flexibility class targets people of all ages & health conditions- anyone can benefit from attending! Stretching classes are designed to enhance core strength and improve balance and posture. Specifically for cancer patients, stretching class can increase range of motion, and improve balance. The benefits of the stretching class include increased performance and overall movement, improved flexibility and posture, and less pain and tightness. By incorporating a stretching routine into your lifestyle, you reduce your potential for injury while creating a more desirable aesthetic appearance. Results are immediate! Daily living activities may be more easily performed after just one session, with more lasting results noted after consistent attendance to weekly classes.
The Stretching & Flexibility class instructor at the Sari Center teaches participants how to use the techniques they have learned in class as an ongoing self-care practice at home. Individualized attention and instruction is given to each participant to address specific needs and personal goals. Beginners and individuals of all ages, stages, and conditions are encouraged to engage in stretching & flexibility exercises regularly as an integrative therapy to help reduce stress and anxiety, and to improve overall performance.
Therapist: Mary Lou Gordon
Meditation is a practice that helps us transform the pain, joy, sorrow and happiness of daily living. Also commonly referred to as "mindfulness," meditation teaches the cancer patient to nurture present-moment awareness. Awareness helps us to understand the mind and its relationship with the body. The practice of meditation calms the mind and balances its relationship with the body.
There is a distinct correlation between mental stress and an unhealthy body. It is known that thoughts and emotions have a great impact on wellness. Research shows that meditation is beneficial to cancer patients, especially those having difficulty coping with their illness. The use of meditation in healthcare centers is widely used nowadays, where individuals can learn and practice these skills to promote better health and enhance their quality of life.
Meditation teaches us to find a calm and quiet space, free from distraction. Meditation encourages "being, not doing" which helps patients achieve an improved quality of life during treatment by learning to experience joy in each moment. The Sari Center offers free guided meditation classes, providing cancer patients and their families an opportunity to achieve balance and emotional stability. Patients are encouraged to strive for a daily meditation routine throughout the course of their cancer treatment, with the long-term goal of endorsing it as a lifestyle change for the better.
Therapist: Laura King, CHt, NLP, Life Coach
The Sari Center has a licensed, trained and highly experienced oncology counselor on staff who addresses the comprehensive issues and unique challenges that arise for each cancer patient and/or significant other. The interdisciplinary team at the Sari Center encourages patients and family members to utilize the free confidential counseling services that are available for every individual affected by cancer. These services exist specifically to help patients and their family members understand, accept, and cope with their illness, from diagnosis through their course of treatment, and even beyond into healthy survivorship.
The integrative psychotherapy services offered at the Sari Center are provided to complement traditional medical treatment and enhance quality of life for all. Individuals, couples, children, families and group support are available and strongly encouraged by the Sari Center team to help the patient and respective support system learn to manage their disease process effectively.
Counselor: Patty Liebman, LCSW, OSW-C
An integral part of the psychotherapy services offered at the Sari Center are the regularly scheduled support groups. While not exactly therapy in the traditional sense, our free support groups exist as a complementary service to medical treatment to provide forums for patients and their loved ones to meet with others who are experiencing similar situations. Led by trained and experienced facilitators, support groups are known to yield positive outcomes for those who regularly attend, who with compassion and understanding, can relate to their peers in ways others simply cannot.
Support Group members are encouraged to make a standing commitment to consistent attendance & group membership, to promote a trusting and cohesive group process. Interested members must contact the Program Coordinator prior to joining to ensure that all individual needs have been appropriately addressed, with a goal that a mutual fit will ultimately occur between the individual and the group. If it is determined that an individual's needs are presently beyond the scope of what the group setting can provide, the Coordinator will recommend that the individual seek additional psychosocial support and make referrals accordingly.
Counselor: Tricia Tran, LMFT
The Sari Center offers no-cost educational services for patients and professionals. The Registered Nurse Educator is an integral member of the Sari Center team who is highly trained and experienced in oncology education. The Nurse coordinates monthly programs to arm the general cancer community as well as other healthcare providers with knowledge in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment. Expert lectures and outreach events may be held at the Sari Center or other designated community locations. In addition, the Registered Oncology Nurse offers one-on-one support to patients and families to provide them with comprehensive information about their diagnosis and treatment otherwise not always received from their medical providers. The Nurse Educator guides and assists patients and caregivers in accessing disease-specific information critical to their treatment success, especially when identified in the early stages.
Educator: Yvonne Stubbs, BSN, OCN, RN