Complementing Your Treatment
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
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
- 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 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