Cancer treatment takes a toll on the mind, body and spirit. From anxiety and stress to pain and nausea, it can leave you feeling exhausted and helpless.
At OhioHealth, we have an Integrative Care program that provides a way of bringing more natural options to your traditional medical treatments that might help you feel better. When properly combined with standard cancer treatments, some complementary therapies can enhance wellness and quality of life.
What Is Integrative Care?
Integrative Care offers evidence-based complementary options to align with your traditional cancer care treatment in ways that have been proven to have an impact. It is grounded in conventional medical science and focuses on the therapeutic relationship between mind, body and spirit.
Our program at OhioHealth Arthur G. H. Bing, MD, Cancer Center is led by Douglas DiOrio, MD, who is board-certified in Integrative and Holistic Medicine, Family Medicine and Sports Medicine. Dr. DiOrio and his team of practitioners work closely with your medical oncologist and others on your OhioHealth Cancer Care team to coordinate complementary treatments, such as massage or nutrition therapies, with traditional ones, such as chemotherapy.
Complementary therapies may be combined with your traditional cancer care plan to help:
- Manage symptoms, such as pain, nausea and fatigue
- Increase quality of life
- Improve the effect of conventional treatment already in place
- Integrative Care at OhioHealth Bing Cancer Center is the only of its kind that’s truly integrated into a cancer program in the central Ohio area.
How Is It Different from Complementary and Alternative Therapies?
Studies have shown that as many as 70% of cancer patients seek complementary and alternative therapies, many without guidance from their cancer doctors.
Complementary medicine alone includes therapies that are scientifically proven to provide some therapeutic results, but are not coordinated with your healthcare team and do not impact your traditional cancer treatment plan.
Alternative medicine includes therapies that are used in lieu of a traditional cancer plan, may not be scientifically proven to provide results, and may have potential to interact negatively with medications and other therapies.
With Integrative Care, a multidisciplinary healthcare team led by an Integrative Care physician translates how complementary therapies might impact your traditional cancer treatment plan and coordinates your care. It is not an alternative to your traditional cancer care plan, rather a means to help it work for you, using evidence-based complementary therapies.
Maybe it’s a matter of finding a complementary therapy that will help you reduce your stress level, which may increase your immune system, which in turn could give your cancer treatments a better chance to help you.
Or maybe a complementary therapy might reduce pain, which then could reduce the medications needed to manage the pain.
We’ll spend time with you to help you understand how your body works, discuss options, listen and understand what you are looking for and guide you. We will work closely with your medical oncologist and your cancer care team.
Services Offered at OhioHealth Integrative Care
Massage therapy includes kneading muscles and soft tissue to enhance function of those tissues, improve body mechanics and flexibility, and promote relaxation. Our experts tailor each massage to the individual needs of the patient.
How it works: Massage therapy includes assessment of individual patient needs and use of massage techniques including swedish, neuromuscular, myofascial, trigger point or craniosacral therapy. A typical session lasts 60 minutes.
Benefits: Reduces muscle-related pain, increases blood circulation, reduces stress and anxiety, increases mobility and flexibility, increases immune function, improves recovery from fatigue.
Integrating supplements and botanicals into traditional nutrition counseling with the goal of assisting treatment and restoring optimal health to nourish the body.
How it works: A session with a dietitian starts with a series of open-ended questions to understand the patient’s daily events, thoughts, nutritional barriers and current diet. The dietitian recommends solutions focused on a plant-based diet, whole grains and limited sodium intake.
Benefits: Addresses comorbidities such as diabetes, reduces high blood pressure, helps overcome obesity, lowers cholesterol and boosts the immune system while promoting increased energy and overall well-being.
Insertion of fine needles into points on the body to balance the flow of energy through the body. Acupuncture promotes the body’s natural ability to heal.
How it works: In each session, you will talk to the acupuncturist about your current symptoms so that he/she can tailor the points to help you feel better. The session can last up to an hour.
Benefits: Helps control pain, headaches, constipation, plus many side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, including nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dry mouth and anxiety. It can also enhance your overall wellbeing as you go through treatments.
Therapy that involves manipulation of joints and the musculoskeletal system to treat symptoms and illnesses.
How it works: Osteopathic techniques include massage, stretching and joint movement.
Benefits: Alleviates tension, pain, stiffness and headaches while working to restore normal mobility.
Mind-body therapies use a variety of techniques to help patients achieve relaxation, gain insight and process complex emotions while supporting the body’s natural ability to heal.
Benefits: Results in lower blood pressure and puts the body in a relaxed state, releases endorphins and strengthens the immune system. These practices can be used prior to surgery, for relaxation, to reduce stress and to gain insight on particular symptoms of illness.
Integrative physician consultation
An integrative physician consultation includes a review of a patient’s medical history, assessing goals, and treatment planning that includes the best of complementary and traditional approaches to health. The integrative physician is able to work with patients and their other healthcare providers to deliver a coordinated plan of care to meet the needs of the whole patient