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Cancer Guide

Maryann Gromisch RN Guide

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There’s no question that cancer and its treatment can take its toll on a person.

While each person's cancer experience is different, the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges the person must face has profound consequences on the healing process. After all, cancer doesn’t just happen to one's body, it happens to one’s whole self.

Healing the whole person is the focus of the Integrative Medicine Department at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. Their team of doctors, nurses, diet specialists and complementary medicine practitioners offer patients and their caregivers a variety of options to take an active part in the recovery and healing process.

Integrative medicine is a total approach to care that involves the patient's mind, body and spirit. It combines standard medicine with complementary medicine practices that have shown the most promise in clinical trials.

Sonic healing is one of many types of integrative medicine available at the Disney Family Cancer Center (DFCC). The class is taught each Tuesday afternoon on the cancer center’s campus, in Burbank, Calif. Sonic healing involves the resonating sounds of a quartz crystal bowl, which promotes relaxation and stress relief.

The quartz crystal bowl has emerged as a powerful sonic healing modality over the past 15 years, said Dr. Lester S. Garfinkel, MD, FACP, a medical oncologist and sonic healing practitioner at DFCC. He said the bowls are a modern adaptation of Tibetan bowls that date back to the 13th -15th centuries.

Integrative approaches have been shown to decrease symptom distress, improve quality of life, and aid people with cancer in regaining a sense of control over their lives, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), the agency that funds scientific research on complementary and alternative medicine. Integrative approaches are increasingly being utilized as adjunct treatment in modern medical centers across the country.

That’s how Debra Selle, a cancer patient at DFCC, first stepped into the sonic healing classroom a few months ago.

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