Cancer treatment can present its own physical and mental challenges. At Aurora, you have access to a range of integrative medicine therapies designed to nurture your mind and body. Integrative therapies are made available to help manage your fatigue, stress, pain, nausea and support wellbeing.
A variety of integrative therapies are offered at Aurora Cancer Care locations throughout the week at low or no cost*. Availability varies by location, but combining any of these therapies can create an empowering, personalized experience that can enhance your body’s ability to heal, build resilience and manage treatment side effects. Our team’s integrative approach aims not only to provide support but to bring balance to your life as well.
* Your support for integrative therapies for cancer patients keeps these services accessible, donate to Aurora Cancer Care Integrative Therapies Fund now through the Aurora Health Care Foundation.
Acupuncture can help manage the side effects associated with conventional cancer treatments. This ancient form of Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on restoring natural energy, called Qi (pronounced “chee”), along pathways in the body called meridians. It has been used for over 4,000 years by billions of people to naturally treat a variety of medical conditions. Current research reveals that Acupuncture activates the pathway between the nervous (nerve) system and endocrine (gland) system.
Within Aurora Cancer Care clinics all acupuncture treatments are provided by Wisconsin certified acupuncturists whose extensive training ensures they provide quality care to Aurora patients.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends the use of acupuncture for patients with cancer, but it should not be used as a substitute for standard cancer treatment. Extensive research during the past 15 years has shown that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation and experiencing side effects to that treatment report acupuncture is effective in treating:
As part of the process, very fine acupuncture needles may be inserted into the upper and lower extremities and/or ears to stimulate the release of hormones that are associated with reducing pain, nausea, and fatigue; and for boosting the immune system. Due to the extreme fineness of the needles, patients generally feel very little discomfort. In fact, most patients find acupuncture sessions relaxing. All treatments in Aurora cancer clinics are provided in group settings with 3-4 patients seated comfortably together. There is no need to disrobe.
Due to generous donations to the Aurora Health Care Foundation, cancer patients treated by Aurora providers receive their first treatment free. If they wish to continue to receive the benefits of acupuncture after that first treatment, the cost is only $30.00 per follow-up treatment.
Learn more about our acupuncture offerings.
Research has shown that Aromatherapy — the use of natural essential oils to promote healing — may ease the side effects associated with conventional cancer care. Aromatherapy can help create a calm mood, a sense of relaxation or a renewal in spirit.
The essential oils used in aromatherapy are obtained through the steam distillation or pressing of flowers, plants, trees, shrubs, roots and the peels of fruits. The oils can then be used safely as a form of self-care to promote comfort and wellbeing. The best oils to use are therapeutic grade oils as they are free from toxic chemicals.
Aromatherapy can help mitigate some side effects associated with cancer and cancer treatment, including:
Aromatherapy is not a substitute for medical care, but it may help you.
Select essential oils are available for use during appointments at Aurora Cancer Care clinics.
Talk to your oncology nurse, massage therapist, acupuncturist or physician about appropriate use.
Aurora's Integrative Health Coaches offer cancer patients guidance on integrative approaches, promote coping strategies, and provide the space, time, and tools you need to prioritize yourself throughout your treatment, recovery and in survivorship. Our coaches have advanced training in integrative, whole-person health approaches that make them supportive partners who take the time to listen, educate, provide resources and ask powerful questions to help you identify obstacles and inner resources.
A licensed integrative health coach helps you formulate your personalized back-to-health plan and works with you one-on-one to help you achieve your health and wellness goals, guide you toward transformation and renewal, and enhance your quality of life.
Coaching sessions are available for early morning, midday or evening. Sessions can either be in person or by phone, whichever is most convenient for you.
Your initial integrative health coaching package includes three visits with a licensed integrative health coach.
Healthy Me Lifestyle Coaching Packages:
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call 414-219-5944
Learn more about our integrative health coaching.
Massage therapy for people living with cancer involves adjusting the application of general massage techniques to deliver a safe and effective massage to people in all stages of cancer — from diagnosis through survivorship. A 2016 study by the American Academy of Pain Medicine describes the practice as "promising for reducing pain intensity/severity, fatigue, and anxiety in cancer populations."1
Cancer patients receiving gentle massage therapy may experience improved mood; a greater sense of wellbeing; and reduced levels of stress, tension, muscle aches and pain. Aurora’s state-licensed massage therapists complete thorough training to understand the side effects of cancer and how to modify massage based on the specific needs of each patient. Oncology massage is not just about knowing what to do, but also knowing what not to do.
Massage therapy is offered free of charge to patients during their appointments at Aurora Cancer Care locations and can be provided during chemotherapy infusions, due to generous philanthropic donations to the Aurora Health Care Foundation. Patients remain clothed and most areas of the body can be addressed. Select Aurora Cancer Care sites offer private table massage at a reduced fee for patients.
Learn more about our massage therapy services.
1Boyd C, Crawford C, Paat CF, et al. The impact of massage therapy on function in pain populations—a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials: part II, cancer pain populations. Pain Med 2016;17:1553–68.
Reiki (“ray-key”) is a Japanese word for universal life-force energy and is a simple yet powerful healing energy technique that many cancer patients find to be a relaxing complement to conventional oncology treatments. A trained Reiki practitioner helps guide the flow of energy through the body with positive healing intent, helping a person come back into balance. It involves light touch or the placement of the practitioner’s hands near the receiver’s body at significant energetic areas.
Reiki is nurturing and stimulates a relaxation response that can reduce stress. Although Reiki is not able to treat cancer, many people find the practice to be deeply calming. Patients undergoing cancer treatments report that Reiki helps lessen side effects of their treatments — pain, anxiety and sickness — and helps them cope better with their cancer and its treatment.
Complimentary Reiki Sessions are available to you at select Aurora Cancer Care locations and are provided by trained Aurora volunteers or massage therapists.
Learn more about our Reiki services.
A one-hour consultation with an Integrative Medicine fellowship-trained health care provider is available to anyone currently under the care of an Aurora oncologist. These sessions offer personalized guidance and recommendations based on the guidelines of the Society of Integrative Oncology — whose mission is to advance evidence-based, comprehensive, integrative health care to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. The aim is to empower people to become active participants before, during and beyond cancer treatment. Benefits are realized at any point in the cancer care continuum whether or not surgery is required.
Consultations generate wellness plans that support and enhance your quality of life by incorporating self-care techniques that can help manage and mitigate the emotional and physiological effects related to a cancer diagnosis. These plans may also recommend the use of integrative therapies — acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, Reiki and other practices offered by Aurora Integrative Medicine — proven to be effective in enhancing your wellbeing and managing the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment. These symptoms may include anxiety, stress, insomnia, pain, neuropathy, nausea and vomiting.
The cost of these consults is typically covered by insurance, although some policies may require a copay.
Learn more about how integrative medicine techniques can enhance cancer care in these articles, blog posts and patient stories: