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Complementary Services Program being offered at Smilow

December 01, 2010

Patients at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven are invited to take part in a Complementary Services Program now available. The Program is focused on relaxation for cancer patients through services such as therapeutic massage, Reiki, yoga, pet visitation, guided imagery, and art expression.

Under the direction of Smilow Operations, the Complementary Services Program offers many unique therapies and relaxation methods. Therapeutic massage is designed to relieve body tension in order to promote health and well-being. All massage therapists have extensive training and are nationally certified and state licensed. Guided imagery services are also available. Guided imagery is a mind-body practice that helps participants reach a deep state of relaxation through guided visualization.

Bonnie Indeck, LCSW, Director of Patient and Family Services at Yale Cancer Center, explained that these services provide patients with comfort and decrease symptoms, such as fatigue and anxiety, which are often side effects of treatment. “Clinical trials have proven that complementary therapies such as these can temporarily help to decrease some of the symptoms patients are experiencing.”

Many of the services can be provided in a patient’s room, such as pet visitation, which is scheduled through Volunteer Services, where Delta-certified therapy dogs visit with patients. There is also art expression where an instructor leads a small group of patients through the exploration of various art mediums, including watercolors, charcoal, and pencil. Volunteer artists also visit individual patients. This provides another outlet for healing using a creative process.

For any patient undergoing treatment, the goal of these services is to try to relieve some of the stress associated with a cancer diagnosis. Reiki touch is available through practitioners who are trained and certified by master-level Reiki teachers to promote healing by utilizing deep relaxation techniques. Therapies such as these are available in other cancer centers, but generally at a cost to the patient.

“We are looking forward to expanding the program in the future to include more patients. We would love to also include family caregivers, due to the amount of ‘caregiver stress’ they can experience they could also benefit from many of these therapies,” Ms. Indeck explained.

The Program is located on the first floor of Smilow Cancer Hospital. To schedule an appointment or to learn more, please call (203) 200-6129.

Submitted by Justin Fansler on July 09, 2011