Integrative Medicine

What Is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine combines standard medical treatment with complementary therapies that have been shown to be safe and effective. Acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, Reiki and others provide a personalized response to a patient’s needs during their cancer journey. Roswell Park offers integrative medicine to help patients cope with their treatment for cancer, hematologic conditions, and stem cell transplant.

Our integrative medicine specialist will engage each patient and their family when they first come to Roswell Park, assess their supportive care needs on an ongoing basis, and provide interventions throughout the course of therapy in order to:

  • Manage and relieve treatment side effects
  • Improve stamina, appetite and sleep
  • Reduce pain, anxiety and fatigue
  • Help make the cancer experience easier

Why It’s Important

Patients and their families often look for non-medical supportive care options to enhance their treatment experience. Integrating these complementary therapies, for which there is evidence for safety and efficacy, can benefit the patient without risking the side effects of additional drugs and pain medication.

Roswell Park offers the Integrative Medicine program to our pediatric, adolescent and young adult patients in the inpatient, outpatient and survivorship centers which are located on the 3rd floor of the Scott Bieler Clinical Sciences Center, Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

How We Can Help

Integrative medicine aims to reduce the negative impact of cancer treatments by helping to alleviate stress, tension, anxiety, pain, nausea and other side effects while promoting relaxation, and improving mood and general wellbeing. Our practitioner will discuss various options to determine which integrative techniques may best be suited to you. Treatment sessions generally take 10 to 20 minutes and include one or more of the following:

  • Acupuncture & Acupressure. These techniques stimulate specific points on the body, called acupoints, to help alleviate symptoms. Acupuncture uses very thin, one-time-use needles (acupressure uses touch) to stimulate the points and reduce symptoms of pain, fatigue, nausea and anxiety.
  • Massage Therapy improves relaxation and helps alleviate stress. A variety of techniques including tui na, shiatsu and aromatherapy may be incorporated.
  • Reflexology applies pressure (varying from light to deep) to specific points on the hands and feet that correspond to various body systems.
  • Aromatherapy uses fragrant essential oils from plants to induce psychological and/or physical wellbeing. Complimentary essential oils are available for patients and their caregivers.
  • Mind-Body Therapy aims to help patients develop an awareness of the connection between their body, mind and spirit. Techniques include breathing exercises, meditation and guided imagery to reduce stress and improve coping. 
  • Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. The general meaning of Rei is Spiritual Wisdom and Ki means Life Energy.
  • Mindfulness & Meditation are practices used to help you focus awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Research has supported these therapeutic techniques for many facets of health and wellness.
  • Healing Touch is an energy-based approach founded by a nurse that uses hands to clear, energize, and balance the human energy field and centers with the goal to restore harmony and balance to assist the body in its natural ability to heal.
  • Yoga is an ancient form of exercise for the body and mind. It aims to improve strength, flexibility, balance and breathing through a series of breathing exercises, postures and movements. The goal is to create harmony between your mind, body and spirit to help you feel calmer. 

All integrative therapies are provided to patients and their families at no charge. We can also teach patients and their families some of these modalities to help with symptoms as they arise.

Roswell Park offers the Integrative Medicine program to our pediatric, adolescent and young adult patients in the inpatient, outpatient and survivorship centers. Adult patients are now able to receive acupuncture through the Survivorship and Supportive Care Center or by referral from their primary oncologist. All patients are eligible for Reiki treatment. Healing Touch and Reiki are also available in the Survivorship and Supportive Care Center on the 3rd floor of the Scott Bieler Clinical Sciences Center, Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.