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Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies work together with your medical treatment for optimal balance.

At Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC) we believe in treating the whole person -- mind, body and spirit (emotional, physical and spiritual) -- and understand that treatment of each facet of your being interrelates for your complete healing.

We offer integrative care, a term used to refer to the combined offering of mainstream medical treatments and complementary therapy. These complementary methods are non-invasive, evidence based and can be safely used along with standard treatment to relieve symptoms and improve well-being by relieving pain, stress and anxiety. Using complementary methods is a way you can be pro-active and participate in your healing journey.

Essential Oil Therapy

Essential oil therapy is the art and science of using pure plant essential oils for therapeutic use. Pure, natural essential oils are the concentrated fluid extracted from the plant’s flowers, leaves, stalks, bark, rind or roots by means of steam distillation and cold expression.  The use of essential oils has the capacity to affect us on many levels: physically, emotionally, energetically and spiritually.

Environmental diffusion and skin absorption are the two methods of essential oil use. On the oncology floor we only use the method of skin absorption with oil of lavender added to a carrier oil for the use in massage.

The methods of diffusion and inhalation are used with oils for the purpose of relieving anxiety and depression, for relaxation and pain control and to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy and medication.

We have chosen a range of essential oils that can be used to complement symptom management across the spectrum of the cancer experience.


Guided Imagery and Visualization

Imagery is described as "the world's oldest and greatest healing source." - Achterberg

Imagery is a mind-body intervention that uses the power of the imagination to affect change in physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions. It is the formation of a mental representation of an object, place, event or situation that is perceived through the senses. This relaxation technique involves visualizing a particular image or goal and then imagining achievement of that goal.

Guided imagery is an effective technique for managing stress, anxiety and depression. It may also relieve high blood pressure, pain and the side effects of chemotherapy. Researchers have found guided imagery to be a beneficial coping skill, giving the individual a greater sense of control, hope and empowerment when dealing with a difficult situation.

On the oncology unit, we offer personal guided imagery sessions for pre and post surgery, pain control, chemotherapy, healing and anxiety.

Holistic Care

Megan Schlick, ND (doctor of naturopathic medicine), applies a whole-person approach to care, recognizing the role of the mind, body and spirit in health and healing. For cancer patients, naturopathic services can help patients prepare and heal from surgery, manage side effects from chemotherapy/radiation and rebuild health after conventional care. Schlick earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Kansas State University and her doctoral degree from Bastyr University, an accredited naturopathic school in Seattle, Wash. She has special training in nutritional medicine, herbal medicine, lifestyle modifications and homeopathy.

Massage Therapy

"...touching becomes a way to communicate God's love." - Bradley Enerson

Massage Therapy is proven to help relieve stress and improve health.  We have several therapists ready to set up appointments to provide a relaxing and rejuvenating session.

We offer different types of massages to benefit every type of person.  We offer Chair, Swedish, Reflexology, Deep Tissue, Cranial-Sacral and hand massages.

The Swedish massage is the most common type of massage.  It uses a system of long strokes, kneading, friction and percussive and vibration techniques on the superficial layers of the muscles, combined with active and passive movements of the joints.  It promotes general relaxation, improves blood circulation and range of motion and relieves muscle tension.

Reflexology is a technique that uses pressure-point massage (usually on the feet, but also on the hands and ears) to restore the balance of the entire body.  Reflexology is the physical act of applying pressure to the feet and hands with techniques that do not utilize oil, cream or lotion.  Technique application is assessed on the basis of zones and reflex areas.

Deep tissue massage release the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons and fascia (fibrous tissue).  It also focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue.

Cranial-Sacral massage is a technique for finding and correcting cerebral and spinal imbalances or blockages that may cause sensory, motor or intellectual dysfunctions.

Hand Massages are provided by trained volunteers for comfort and relaxation at a patient’s bedside.  There is no charge for this service.

There are many benefits of massage therapy for cancer patients.  Some benefits can include, but not limited to, pain reduction, increased relaxation, stimulation of the lymphatic system, reduced muscle tension and overall feeling and doing better.

Appointment lengths and fees:

30-minute              $50
60-minute              $65
90-minute              $95
120-minute            $130

*Cash, checks or credit cards are accepted

*To arrange an appointment contact Life Dynamics Health and Wellness at ext. 72833 or 913-676-2833 outside the hospital. It is preferred that you schedule your massage 24 hour in advance.

*Written permission from you physician must be obtained prior to your massage.

Massages must be paid for at the time of service. We will not bill insurance.  A credit cared or debit card must be provided to secure the appointment. The card will not be charged unless directed by you. The appointment line is answered Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Massages are available Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Therapists are only on campus when they have an appointment. Massage cancellations must be made at least 24-hours in advance, however for oncology patients cancellations need to be made as soon as possible before the appointment.

The Most Touching Gift You Can Give is the Gift of Touch. If you are interested in giving your loved one a gift of massage, please call Life Dynamics Health and Wellness to schedule an appointment.

Meditation and Relaxation

In a state of relaxation the body can devote its energy and resources to healing. Meditation and conscious relaxation have been proven to promote emotional balance and physical resilience - a blueprint for healthy living. Simple meditation and conscious relaxation techniques, such as The Relaxation Response, mindful breathing and awareness of thoughts and emotions, have a positive impact in the treatment of chronic pain, insomnia and emotional well-being while coping with cancer.

Chaplains are available to assist you with meditation, breathing and relaxation techniques. This service is provided by the Spiritual Wellness Department at no charge to you.

Relaxation and music videos are also available to you 24 hours/day on the Patient Education TV Channel.

Music Therapy

SMMC’s Music for Healing program reduces stress, relieves pain and provides comfort to our patients.  This program consists of a variety of treatments designed for your individual needs, such as musical acupuncture, musical biofeedback, live music in your room, interactive music therapy, music therapy to strengthen lung capacity and vibro acoustic music chairs.

Musical Acupuncture is a method a therapy using special therapeutic music. You are guided by a therapist to bring musical tones into the body.  This technique is similar to acupuncture treatment, replacing the needles with musical tones.  At 50 beats a minute, the music is designed to physiologically slow you down, lowering blood pressure and heart rate while providing relaxation.  This method is often used for pain or anxiety.

Musical Biofeedback technique uses music at very slow rhythms similar to a heart beat.  Musical biofeedback is beneficial in controlling stress and will assist you in learning to match body rhythms, as well as lower your heart beat and blood pressure.  It is designed for patients who want to de-stress and are interested in learning holistic techniques to help reduce medications for blood pressure and/or anxiety.

Live music in patient rooms consist of gentle music such as a guitar, cedar flute and/or harp.  The music is played in your room to aid in relieving pain and lower anxiety.  In addition, live music can be very beneficial for family members.  This technique is helpful with palliative care patients who cannot respond or interact well with a therapist.

Interactive music therapy is exactly how it sounds, it interactive.  Patients can enjoy playing special harps or xylophones that are tuned in a scale that you will find easy to play.  All strumming music sounds good together-creating very resonant and beautiful musical vibrations.

Music Therapy used to strengthen lung capacity is a program that is for those of you who have had surgery and need to build up lung strength and capacity.  Native style cedar flutes with plastic tubes are used and when blown into gently will create a beautiful sound.  As lung capacity is enlarged, the size of the flute is increased.

Vibro Acoustic Music Chairs

In a comfortable Acoustic Music Chair you will feel the music in your entire body. These chairs are designed with embedded speakers that generate musical vibration to produce a gentle massage.  The massage aids in relaxation and helps move blocked energy in the body. These musical chairs are effectively used for pain control, anxiety relief and general relaxation.  This chair will make you feel as though you are being hugged by music.

If you are interested in learning more about these programs, contact your nurse or call ext. 72305.

Pastoral Care - Prayer and Ritual

Putting the soul back into medicine.

At SMMC we believe spiritual health is a major factor of our physical well-being. When we are confronted with an illness, we may also be looking for emotional and spiritual healing. We want to know we are worthy and lovable, want to confess, to complain, to be forgiven, to make meaning of our life. Illness puts to us the questions: who am I; what is the purpose of my life; how can I profit from this illness as an opportunity? Illness can challenge our beliefs and the very foundations upon which we build our lives.

Chaplains are available by referral, 24-hours-a-day, to be with you as you make meaning of your healing journey. Chaplains can be called upon to listen and pray with you, to contact your own church and to personalize ritual for you.

Pet Visits

Pet visitation helps create a feeling of home for patients while they are in the hospital. The visiting animals are from the Delta Society Mo-Kan Pet Partners program. The Delta Society screens and trains handlers and their pets specifically for the health care environment. Since the 1970’s, research has begun to establish a link between animal companionship and improved health and well-being. Pet visits can help promote physical, social and psychological benefits.

Shawnee Mission Medical Center
9100 West 74th Street
Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66204
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Prairie Star
23401 Prairie Star Parkway
Lenexa, Kansas 66227
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