Aug 25, 2017 9:00 AM

acupuncture needles on stone

Complementary and integrative medicine is a type of health care used alongside standard treatments. This type of medicine usually focuses on the patient’s total wellbeing, including the mind, body, and spirit. (The term alternative medicine refers to a type of treatment often used in place of proven medical treatments.)

Complementary and integrative medicine can be used during cancer treatment to help with symptoms and side effects, such as pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

What are some examples of complementary and integrative medicine?

There are five different types of complementary and integrative medicine:

  • Mind-body medicines such as meditation, yoga, and guided imagery
  • Biology-based practices such as vitamins, foods, and herbs
  • Manipulative and body-based practices such as massage and chiropractic care
  • Energy medicines such as tai chi, qigong, reiki, and therapeutic touch
  • Whole medicine systems such as acupuncture and Chinese medicine

Should I talk with my health care provider about complementary and integrative medicine?

Yes. It is important to talk to your doctor because some therapies may interfere with standard cancer treatments. Some products may be harmful on their own or when mixed with other treatments. Your doctor can help you find the best options to manage your symptoms and side effects.

Where can I find resources about complementary and integrative medicine?

The G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center (CLC) has great resources to learn more about complementary and integrative medicine. The CLC has books, videos, and CDs that walk you through practices like meditation, guided imagery, tai chi, and more.

The CLC also offers “Playaway” devices that are pre-loaded with meditations or soothing sounds. Playaways are about the size of a deck of cards and only require headphones. Patients often check these out to use during treatments and hospital stays or at home. 

Visit the CLC on the sixth floor of the cancer hospital, call 1-888-424-2100, or email for more information.

The Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness and Integrative Health Center offers several kinds of complementary and integrative medicine, including massage, acupuncture, mind-body classes, yoga, tai chi, qigong, and more. For more information or to make an appointment, call 801-587-4585.

wellness cancer learning center integrative medicine

Cancer touches all of us.

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