Integrative Cancer Care

Treating Mind and Body

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

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.

Benefits for Cancer Patients and Survivors

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 acupuncture is effective in treating:

  • Pain after surgery: Acupuncture before and after surgery can reduce the intensity of pain that patients experience. As a result, patients may need less pain medication, recover more quickly, and experience fewer side effects.
  • Immune function: Several studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in enhancing blood platelet count after radiation or chemotherapy. The body’s natural killer cell activity also was increased greatly after a series of acupuncture treatments, which may mean patients recover more quickly.
  • Chemotherapy- and radiation-induced nausea and vomiting: Studies show adding acupuncture to anti-nausea medication works better than medication alone for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
  • Hot flashes: Acupuncture not only reduces hot flashes in menopausal women, it has also been shown to reduce hot flashes in patients being treated for breast and prostate cancers.

How Is Acupuncture Delivered?

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.

How Much Does It Cost?

Due to generous donations to the Aurora Health Care Foundation, cancer patients treated by Aurora providers receive their first three treatments free. If they wish to continue to receive the benefits of acupuncture after those first three treatments, the cost is only $25.00 per follow-up treatment.

Learn more about our acupuncture offerings.

Aromatherapy

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.

Benefits for cancer patients and survivors

Aromatherapy can help mitigate some side effects associated with cancer and cancer treatment, including:

  • Stress
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Pain

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.

Purchasing Essential Oils

To purchase essential oils call or email:

Aurora Integrative Medicine
414-219-5900
integrativemedicine@aurora.org

Relaxation & Sleep Kit: $42.00
Four 8 ml bottles of essential oil
Bergamot, Geranium, Lavender & Mandarin

Nausea & Pain Kit: $31.50
Four 8 ml bottles of essential oil
Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lemon & Peppermint

Additional essential oils and supplies available.

Learn more about our aromatherapy offerings.

Prices subject to change without notification.

Integrative Health Coaching

Aurora's Integrative Health Coaching (IHC) program offers cancer patients guidance on integrative approaches, promotes coping strategies, and provides the space, time, and tools you need to prioritize yourself throughout your treatment, recovery and in survivorship. Our IHCs 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.

Benefits for Cancer Patients and Survivors

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.

Flexible, Affordable Sessions

Coaching sessions available for early morning, midday or evening. And sessions can either be in person or by phone too, whichever is most convenient for you.

Your initial integrative health coaching package includes four visits with a licensed integrative health coach.

Integrative Health Coaching Packages:

  • Initial Package: 4 visits for $249
  • Follow-up Package: 3 visits for $150

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call 414-219-5944

Learn more about our integrative health coaching.

Surgical Cancer Care Consultations

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.

Benefits for Cancer Patients and Survivors

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.

To schedule an appointment, call 414-649-3240 (St Luke’s Surgical Specialties) or 414-329-5627(Aurora West Allis Comprehensive Breast Care Center).

Massage Therapy

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

Benefits of Massage Therapy

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.

How Much Does It Cost?

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

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.

Benefits of Reiki

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.

"The massage therapy program at Aurora Cancer Care in Kenosha is the best!
What a fantastic idea. I look forward to my visit every day."

Additional Resources

Learn more about how integrative medicine techniques can enhance cancer care in these articles, blog posts and patient stories:

Selena’s Story

Aurora's integrative therapies helped Selena face a cancer diagnosis.

Integrative Treatments for Nerve Pain

Four cancer treatments with proven results against peripheral neuropathy.

Denise’s Story

Patient feedback highlights effectiveness of integrative, multi-disciplinary cancer treatment. (story on page 2)

Harnessing the Power of Scent

How scent can make cancer treatment more effective and improve quality of life. (story on page 4)

Enhancing Cancer Care Through Integrative Medicine

Research-based integrative medicine reduces side effects of conventional cancer care

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