The San Diego Cancer Research Institute believes in a multidisciplinary approach to wellness. How can we teach cancer patients to use their own inner strength, spirit, or energy to create changes in the physical body, the tissues and cells? Each person is producing innumerable amounts of chemicals and hormones that can enhance the immune system. This process is capable of changing chemical functions and the production of cells, and may even influence cancer cells.
Studies at Stanford University have shown that patients who participate in support groups lived longer than those who were not assisted by a support group. We know that people who use mind/body approaches feel better, have a better quality of life and frequently live longer. How is this possible? What do these successful people, who were able to beat medical statistics, have in common? What did they do with their bodies, what did they do with their minds?
Weapons of the Spirit
Relaxing the mind and reducing stress are very important. Researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered that when a person engages in a repetitive prayer, word, sound or phrase, and passively disregards intrusive thoughts, a specific set of physiological changes ensue. There is decreased metabolism, heart rate, rate of breathing, and distinctly slower brainwaves. These changes are the opposite of those induced by stress and have been labeled the Relaxation Response. In conjunction with nutrition, exercise and stress management, the Relaxation Response is an effective therapy in a number of diseases that include the symptoms of cancer.
As no cancer is alike and the patients that need treatment are even more unique, cancer treatment has to become more and more customized. Every patient has his/her own unique balance and therefore needs different, amounts of medicine, combinations of supplements and nutrition. The San Diego Cancer Research Institute will also study the customs of some ancient cultures and primitive tribes who by the virtue of their nutritional habits seem to be less at risk for certain types of cancer.
Integrative medicine in oncology care combines multiple treatment modalities and support to create a total healing environment and encourages the patient to become an active agent in his or her care and wellness. Modern drug therapies are complemented with integrative approaches including:
- Nutrition programs. Individualized and customized guidance when needed
- Support Groups: Emotional Well Being. Stress management. Feeling Empowered. APOS (American Psychosocial Oncology Society)
- Gentle and aerobic exercise. Movement. Zumba
- Yoga: Whole discipline
- Physical Therapy. Rehabilitation Medicine
- Botanicals and dietary supplements. Herbal Medicine
- Empowerment Techniques: meditation, MBSR (mindfulness based stressed reduction), visualization, guided imagery, etc.
- Massage (medical): oncology massage certification
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture
- Ayurvedic Medicine
- Biofield Therapies: Energy Medicine. Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, etc
- Craniosacral Therapy
- Qi gong, Tai Chi
- Expressive Art therapy: HMV (Hope made visible) under SDCRI
- Pet therapy
- Music. Sound Therapy
- Humor. Laughter Yoga
- Spirituality. Power of Prayer. Intention and Intuition
- Life style changes, when indicated to enhance quality of life