Together We Can -- Newsletter of the Joan Karnell Cancer Center

Fall 2005

Putting Patients Back in the Center of their Care
Message From the Administrator
Understanding Computer Assisted Tomography
Cancer Risk Evaluation
Shiatsu Bodywork
Honors, Awards & Publications
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Shiatsu Bodywork: Complementing Your Treatment
With Integrative Therapies

It is the natural impulse of the body to care for itself.

While healthcare practitioners have the responsibility to use their training, skills, tools, and resources to engage and nurture that natural process, patients at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center can complement their treatment with a variety of integrative therapies.

These include Shiatsu bodywork, music therapy, art therapy, nutrition, spiritual support, psychology, and social work. The Karnell Cancer Center recognizes the need for these services to address many of the issues cancer patients face including:

  • Dealing with the fear, uncertainty and anxiety that often accompanies a cancer diagnosis.
  • Coping with a variety of side effects and symptoms.
  • Sorting through information from a variety of sources such as the Internet, articles, and family and friends.
  • Learning how to participate in their healing and symptom management.
  • There is often a desire to make some sense of the experience or to find a way to shift to a more hopeful and positive perspective.
  • Preserving quality of life.

Shiatsu Bodywork
Shiatsu is based in Traditional Chinese Medicine and focuses on balancing and tonifying the body’s bioenergetic system. “Shiatsu, like most of the integrative therapies, has the combined benefit of providing both a treatment and engaging the patient in their own self-care,”said Wayne Mylin, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), the Shiatsu therapist at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center. Shiatsu can also treat specific symptoms like nausea, pain, anxiety, depression, poor sleep, impaired immunity and fatigue.

Mylin says there are many reasons that patients come to him for a Shiatsu treatment. “Because the treatment itself is a pleasant, comforting, and relaxing experience, some patients use it as a distraction, a reward, or a calming force on the days they get chemotherapy. Others come to Shiatsu treatments for help in managing symptoms and side effects.

In addition to the benefits of the hands-on treatment, Shiatsu sessions may include a review of the patient’s lifestyle, provide self-care techniques, or encourage a shift in perspective when it is needed. Mylin explained about a research study conducted by the Karnell Cancer Center to examine the effects of Shiatsu on sleep disturbances in cancer patients. What became clear, according to Mylin, was that many patients had poor sleep habits they were not aware of until they became involved in the study. “A few simple changes and they were getting more, better quality sleep, said Mylin. “And sleep is so important to the ability to heal and tolerate treatment.”

As part of the Shiatsu session or in workshops, Mylin offers self-care techniques based in Shiatsu and Traditional Chinese Medicine. These include the use of acupoints for symptom management or enhancing the healing capacity, activities that counteract the imbalances in the body’s energy system, and mindfulness of the Six Fundamentals of Health: breathing, sleeping, eating, moving, thinking, and relationships.

According to Mylin most of us have been raised in a culture that holds other people responsible for our health. He agrees that experts and medical technology are necessary to help us through a health crisis. “However as a culture we have forgotten that prevention, participating in our own healing, and enhancing our quality of life is ultimately the responsibility of each individual,” said Mylin.

>> Learn more about shiatsu body massage and other supportive care services


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