Summer fun can wear thin after a while for some people, and it’s important to know how to relax when your body tells you it needs to slow down. Integrative therapies, such as aromatherapy, massage and acupuncture, can help you slow down and feel rested.
Aromatherapy, or the use of essential oils for healing purposes, can improve your physical and emotional well-being. Did you know that this service is free to patients of Calumet Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Hospital? We use only 100 percent pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils extracted from the flowers, leaves, bark, wood, roots, seeds and peels of plants.
Inhaling different essential oils is believed to stimulate brain function and can result in benefits like stress relief, eased pain and increased relaxation. Talk to your clinician to determine if aromatherapy is appropriate for your needs.
Massage therapy is another non-medicinal way to promote healing and relieve stress, and the Mary Kimball Anhaltzer Center for Integrative Medicine in Oshkosh has experienced, licensed massage therapists to help relieve pain and reduce stress. Other possible benefits include:
- Increased blood circulation
- Increased lymphatic circulation and drainage
- Lowered blood pressure
- Increased energy balance
- Increased muscle mobility
- Increased self-awareness
- Increased sensitivity
- Increased energy, vitality and vigor
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Essential oils were mankind’s first medicine. Shown in Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, we know that priests and physicians have been using essential oils for thousands of years. Essential oils are extracted from plant leaves, flowers, stems, roots or bark and carry the essence of the plants in such a potent form that a single drop of essential oil can equal multiple teaspoons of the dried herb. One drop of peppermint oil, for instance, equals more than 25 cups of peppermint tea!
Essential oils can be used or applied in a variety of ways and combinations to bring powerful results. Lavender, for example, can be used for issues such as burns, insect bites, headaches, PMS, insomnia and stress. Oils can be applied directly on the skin or within compresses, by inhalation, in baths or through cooking. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic properties.
As essential oils become more mainstream, more choices flood the store shelves. Keep in mind that the purest therapeutic-grade essential oils are the most effective and worth the cost. Anything less than pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil may not produce the desired result and can in some cases be extremely toxic. It is also a good idea to consult your provider before beginning use of essential oils, especially if you are pregnant. Continue Reading »
Many people see massage therapy as a luxury but in reality, massage therapy is good for your physical and emotional health. More research is being done to learn how massage therapy affects your body physiologically, but there are some things we are aware of now. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage therapy:
- Lowers stress. The long-term effects of stress can take emotional and physical tolls on your body. Massage therapy may relieve stress and conditions associated with it, such as tension headaches.
- Increases immune function. Medical research indicates that massage therapy can help boost immune system strength by increasing the activity level of the body’s natural “killer T cells,” that fight off viruses.
- Boosts mental health and wellness. Research suggests that symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression (all associated with mental health) may be helped with massage therapy.
- Manages pain. Pain can negatively affect a person’s quality of life and impede recovery from illness or injury. Recent findings highlight the role of massage in pain management.
- Improves physical fitness. Elite and recreational athletes alike can benefit from massage therapy. It can reduce muscle tension, improve exercise performance and prevent injuries.
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Cancer affects the whole person: body, mind and spirit, not just the system it targets. Many find that cancer treatment best serves a patient when conventional treatments targeting the body are supported by integrative medicine approaches that help body, mind and spirit. Research-based, proven methods are used by integrative medicine providers to help decrease the side effects of the conventional treatment such as pain, anxiety, dry mouth and sleep disturbances. While supporting the patient’s overall recovery, these five recommendations can help a patient heal and improve peace of mind:
1.) Acupuncture – Originating 3,000 years ago in China, acupuncture involves placing fine needles into specific points on the body to elicit a healing response. The stimulation of these needles corrects the flow of energy, or qi, along channels throughout the body, called meridians. Studies show acupuncture can help with nausea and dry mouth. The treatment can also be helpful for pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and stress.
2.) Massage therapy – Another treatment that has been used for thousands of years, massage therapy is a way to heal the body, maintain wellness and to demonstrate compassionate support to others through touch. There are more than 250 variations of massage and bodywork techniques, each helping to induce relaxation, soothe muscles and promote healing. A Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center study showed a 50 percent reduction in the symptoms of fatigue, pain and anxiety in cancer patients when they received regular massage therapy treatments. Continue Reading »
Imagine having a medical test and getting the phone call that there is something abnormal, and more testing is necessary to determine if it’s cancer. Not knowing is a very difficult emotional state. It’s likely that your body will react to this with adrenal hormones like cortisol and its fight or flight response. This leads to racing hearts and minds, difficulty sleeping, tight muscles, digestive problems, and a sense of dis-ease. If this stress response continues, it can affect every cell and organ in your body and impair your body’s ability to heal.
Fortunately, there are many things a person can do to help manage the stress related to a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Social support is essential; allow others to be involved and accept the care you need. Find ways to do the things that normally bring you peace—like physical activity, time in nature or worship services. For many people, spiritual practices or spiritual counseling are very helpful.
Physical activity is a powerful stress reducer. Our bodies are meant to move every day, so keeping as active as possible is important. On the other hand, it’s important to listen to your body, and not over-do it, especially during cancer treatment. Regular exercise can help give a sense of control and remind people of the strength of their minds and bodies. It is also proven to help prevent cancer recurrences. Continue Reading »