The new normal becomes a series of doctor appointments, treatments and lots of stress. But studies have shown that alternative and complementary therapies can make a big difference in the healing process.
“We try to work with patients right away to connect them with whatever services they need. Everyone copes differently,” says Collette LaFrancis, patient support navigator at ProHealth Care in Waukesha. “We have a variety of healing therapies that are free to our patients including Rekei, a gentle massage and relaxation technique, acupuncture and anxiety reduction techniques,” she says.
Yoga can be a great stress reliever for patients as well as caregivers. “Cancer surgery can leave people with a range of problems, and there is a lot of research about how effective yoga can be in helping patients deal with the physical side effects of treatment as well as the emotional ones,” according to Linda Sarner with Wheaton Franciscan Health Care.
Patients repeatedly report problems with insomnia, anxiety and fear of reoccurrence of disease, as well as physical pain and swelling, Sarner says. That is why Wheaton Franciscan recently started a restorative yoga program. “All of those problems seem to improve for patients when they are going through yoga training,” says Nancy Adams, registered yoga instructor and former registered nurse. “Yoga helps with proper breathing, bone strengthening and lymphedema in the extremities,” she says.
Both ProHealth Care and Wheaton Franciscan offer patients a wide array of services to help them cope with the issues they may face, and the feedback has been positive. “People usually say how grateful they are that these services exist, whether it is during or after treatment. In fact, sometimes the services are more welcome after treatment is completed, when people suddenly begin to feel alone,” LaFrancis says. “We want to provide healing not just for the body, but for the mind and spirit, too.”