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News Archive - Progress Newsletter Fall 2002 Online

Complementary therapies help patients explore the changes cancer makes in their lives

From diagnosis to treatment and beyond, cancer takes everyone involved through a world of experiences. Healing arts programs-which may also be called complementary ther-apy programs-offer such services as music therapy, art therapy, massage and stress management techniques. Cancer patients within the U-M Health System have the option to experience a healing arts program at either the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center (in Ann Arbor, Michigan); or at the Assarian Cancer Center (in Novi, Michigan).

The U-M Cancer Center's Complementary Therapies Program (formerly known as the MindBodySpirit Program) has recently gained a new program director. Shannon Scott, who many Cancer Center patients knew as the Coordinator of the Center's Art Therapy Program, became the director of the Complementary Therapies Program in the spring.

This is an exciting new role for Ms. Scott, and she is looking forward to broadening the scope of the program. It will focus on an evidence-based approach, dedicated to offering patients established therapies and educational classes to complement their existing medical care.

The Complementary Therapies Program encourages patients to participate in a variety of offerings that nurture the whole person. Art therapy, music, gentle movement, journaling, guided imagery and massage are available to patients. Other classes and workshops are open to patients and families, and include Reiki, herbs, yoga, acupuncture, tai chi, meditation, spirtuality, as well as other mind-body interventions.

Art and art therapy remain an important focus. This fall, art therapy continues offering two groups for patients. The Art Therapy Group is an eight-week therapy group in which art is used to process personal thoughts and feelings related to living with cancer. (No art experience is necessary.)

The Art Techniques class features com-munity artists who volunteer their time and expertise to introduce patients to a variety of art materials and teach techniques for using the different media. The Ann Arbor Weaver's Guild will visit to teach patients weaving with a loom that has recently been acquired with the assistance of weaver Bob Owen. The Voices Art Gallery showcases the artwork of those who have been touched by cancer. These pieces reflect stories and experiences of patients of all ages.

Just as the Cancer Center did last year, a Family Retreat for patients and families will take place on October 26, in cooperation with the Saint Joseph Mercy Cancer Care Center. Held at the Matthaei Botanical Garden, this event offers a unique opportunity for family and friends to come together and share their cancer experience.

U-M Cancer Center patients who are seen at the Assarian Cancer Center are also encouraged to take advantage of programs and services available through the Providence Center for the Healing Arts. The Assarian Cancer Center- a joint venture between Providence Hospital and the U-M-is located in Novi, Michigan.

Elena Weissman supervises the Assarian Healing Arts Program, which is based on a philosophy of wholeness and healing. Patients and families can participate in yoga, meditation, massage therapy, Reiki, Healing Touch, guided imagery, and art and music classes and workshops. In addition, nutrition, patient education, support programs, art workshops and ceramics are offered through the Healing Arts Program. Like the U-M Complementary Therapies Program, there is an Art Gallery.

The Assarian Cancer Center also features a Science Gallery that focuses on making sense of the scientific ideas, methods and concepts related to cancer. It houses an interactive kiosk with five educational modules that describe scientific concepts from cell division to DNA in an entertainingand accessible format.

A unique feature of the Assarian Cancer Center is its architecture, which has been designed to complement the Healing Arts Program. At the center or heart of the

building, on the first floor, is the Reflection Space. This large, glass-enclosed room, often called the Soulscape, features original artwork, stone sculptures and fountains.

The best way for patients and families at the Assarian Cancer Center to get oriented to the Healing Arts programs available to them is by coming to BOOST Camp. This all-day program provides a comprehensive overview and orientation to the Center for the Healing Arts.

BOOST Camp is held on the first Wednes-day of each month. It is an all-day program, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is currently free for all cancer patients. Registration is required and space is limited; please call (248) 465-4490 for more information or to register.

Information about the U-M Cancer Center's Complementary Therapies Program (as well as the Family Retreat) is available on the Cancer Center's web site.


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This article is part of the Cancer Center's News Archive, and is listed here for historical purposes.

The information and links may no longer be up-to-date.

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