The Integrative Therapies Program for Children with Cancer at the Herbert Irving Child & Adolescent Cancer Center provides a variety of integrative services to help support parents and children as they progress through cancer therapy and into survivorship as well as the end of life setting. All services are provided at no cost to patients and their families. The Integrative Therapies Program for Children with Cancer offers acupressure, acupuncture, aromatherapy, exercise, herbal guidance, massage, meditation, nutrition counseling, reflexology, reiki, and yoga & movement therapy and a chef program.
All services are complimentary to patients. Below is a list and brief description of the services.
Acupuncture and acupressure are defined as the use of applied pressure on specific points on the body to help the body cope with a specific ailment. These specific points are referred to as acupressure or acupuncture points. The basis of acupressure is to stimulate acupoints through touch. Acupuncture is a more intensified form of stimulating acupoints through the insertion of small, fine needles. Generally, pain is not associated with acupuncture treatments. We provide acupuncture to children of all ages, from infancy through adolescence and young adulthood. Acupuncture may aid in coping with pain, fatigue, insomnia, nausea/vomiting, or some of the other side-effects associated with cancer therapy. Acupuncture and acupressure sessions with a licensed acupuncturist generally last between 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on the needs of the child and family members. Acupuncturists are available by appointment Monday thru Thursday 10am-4pm. Acupressure bands are also available upon request.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants for use in health, beauty or pleasure. Aromatherapy can be used for its calming effects during times when a child is anxious, sleepless, nauseous, experiencing an altered sense of smell, or has a decreased appetite. Complimentary essential oils and diffusers are available to all patients. We have small diffusers that can be plugged into an electric outlet. These diffusers can emit essential oils for several hours. An Integrative Therapies Program aromatherapy provider is available for a consult Monday thru Friday, 9am - 5pm.
Created based on input from providers, children, and families who have worked with the nutritionist, the chef program provides a weekly tasting menu of nutritionally dense foods to the health care providers, children, parents, and families of pediatric oncology. The recipes focus on foods that are rich in anticancer phytonutrients along with foods that may help alleviate common side-effects associated with cancer treatment.
We have developed a chef program with the intentions of providing a menu-tasting educational experience to broaden health care practitioners nutrition repertoire and demonstrate that healthy foods do not have to taste bad!
Due to these interactive tastings, families and patients are more readily open to trying the whole food clinic treats, including tempeh sandwiches, veggie sushi, and lentils with pineapple and plantains in lieu of high fat, fast food lunches from the local McDonalds or Wendy's while receiving therapy in the clinic. Additionally, families are also more willing than ever to work with the nutritionist creating individual, healthy food diet plans their children will enjoy, and facilitating inventive approaches to managing a healthy food household.
Learn about our Chef Program recipes
Exercise, Yoga & Movement Therapy
Offering instructional sessions in yoga, breath-work, pilates, and other exercise techniques to patients and families, our exercise physiologist aims to promote relaxation and healing and increase flexibility and strength. Sessions generally last between 15 minutes to 1 hour depending on the needs of the child and family members. Off therapy exercise classes are offered three times a week. Yoga meditation techniques are utilized in the palliative care setting. Individual and group exercise and yoga sessions are available both in the inpatient and outpatient settings, Monday thru Friday 1pm-7pm.
The Cancer dancers is a unique program developed by our exercise physiologist, Christine Grimaldi. Consisting of survivors and siblings ranging from 13 to 25 years of age, the Cancer Dancers exercise and dance bi-weekly and perform at various conferences and gatherings. As part of their mission, the Cancer Dancers visit children in the hospital, encouraging wellness as part of their fight, and mentor others transitioning into survivorship in acquiring healthy behaviors. The Cancer Dancers have been featured on The View, ABC News, and New York 1, and have been acknowledged by internationally renowned associations such as The Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Ulman Foundation.
Many families are interested in herbal or nutritional remedies. Although we cannot recommend the safe use of these remedies in combination with a child's therapy due to the potential of unforeseen interactions, our herbal and nutrition counseling services provide guidance in weighing the advantages and disadvantages of individual herbal or nutritional remedies. Our integrative therapies team specializes in investigating the safe use of herbal/nutritional remedies with conventional therapy and serves as a reliable resource for questions regarding herbal or nutrition supplements. The Integrative Therapies Program's nutritionist is available Monday thru Thursday, 9am-5pm, to meet with patients and their families regarding nutrition and herbal and nutritional supplement inquiries.
Massage techniques used by our practitioners include Swedish massage, aromatherapy massage, acupressure, reflexology, and Tui Na. Sessions generally last between 10 minutes to 1 hour depending on the needs of the child and family member. An Integrative Therapies Program licensed massage therapist is available for a consult Monday thru Thursday, 9am - 5pm.
Mindfulness meditation is a refined, systematic attentional strategy aimed at developing both stability of mind and body and deep insight into an array of mental and physical conditions that inhibit an individual's capacity to respond effectively and proactively in demanding, highly charged or more commonplace everyday activities. Sessions generally last between 5 minutes to an hour and are complimented with audio sessions. Individual meditation sessions are available both in the inpatient and outpatient settings, Monday thru Friday 9am-5pm.
Reiki is a gentle "hands on" healing technique in which a Reiki practitioner allows energy to pass through him/her to another person, for the recipient's higher good. This energy flow can realign, recharge and rebalance an individual's energy field, which creates the conditions needed for an integrated functioning of the body's healing ability. Sessions generally last between 5 minutes to an hour. Practitioners are available to provide Reiki Monday thru Friday, 9am-5pm. Practitioners are also available to attune patients and parents in the practice.
Last updated: October 13, 2009