CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Integrative medicine helping oncology patients

Integrative medicine is helping oncology patients and new developments are being featured in various conferences.

Integrative medicine helps patients in a Chicago hospital:

Cancer patients find relief in integrative medicine services


Contact: Angela Salerno
Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Northwestern Memorial's Integrative Oncology Program aims to ease pain and help patients manage cancer

CHICAGO- The very instant Penny Kukovec was diagnosed with breast cancer her world permanently changed. Suddenly, it felt as if her life was out of her control. She felt powerless and overwhelmed. There were so many unanswered questions. Why me? What's next? What about my family? The feelings Kukovec experienced are felt by many cancer patients following their initial diagnosis and as they pursue treatment. In an effort to effectively and compassionately respond to these worries, as well as address common side effects associated with cancer treatment, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University now offer integrative oncology services.

"When a patient is diagnosed with cancer many of them want to fully participate in their recovery, but don't know where to begin. This program gives them control over their treatment," said Julian Schink, MD, chief of Gynecologic Oncology at Northwestern Memorial and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

The integrative oncology services are part of a larger 360 Care Program that recently launched aimed to address cancer patients' needs from every angle through treatment that extends beyond medical therapies, to include counseling, stress management and integrative medicine. Integrative oncology services include acupuncture, massage, energy healing and naturopathic medicine offered by Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group's Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness.

"Our goal is to treat the whole person, not just their illness," said Melinda Ring, MD, medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness. "Research suggests that a holistic approach can alleviate stress and anxiety, as well as the physical pain and discomfort patients often experience while undergoing cancer treatments by activating the body's innate healing process."

While there is little research to explain exactly how integrative approaches like acupuncture work, researchers at the National Institute of Health state complementary therapy such as acupuncture do improve the body's immune system. In an oncology setting, integrative approaches provide an effective way to manage symptoms, alleviate side effects, and help patients restore their sense of control and vitality.

"My body was hit hard with trauma. I was so tired, my joints hurt and my muscles were tense. I knew I needed more help. When I began massage therapy my muscles relaxed, and it helped me release my emotions. It reminded my body that it can relax in spite of what I am going through," said Penny Kukovec, patient at Northwestern Memorial.

Common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer include muscle tension, aches, pains nausea, vomiting and fatigue. The main role of complementary medicine is to provide supportive care and reduce adverse effects while helping the patient cope.

"Unfortunately, the side effects associated with conventional therapies often cause patients to end their treatments prematurely, or require that we take a less aggressive approach," said Schink. "We've seen this occurrence decrease with the addition of integrative oncology services."

"The medicine I was taking for my cancer caused nerve damage in my hands and feet. It was very uncomfortable. Acupuncture helped relieve the pain," said Nancy Amicangelo, patient at Northwestern Memorial.

There is evidence that integrative approaches may also play a role in reducing the rate of depression among cancer patients. Services such as massage therapy are believed to have a short-term effect on reducing anxiety related to depression among patients.

"You're sick, your hair falls out, and your family is stressed. When you are diagnosed it's sometimes all that you can think about. The massages offer me a chance to escape," said Kukovec.

While integrative medicine does not offer a cure for cancer, there is strong evidence that it positively affects the patient. Studies show 77 percent of cancer patients who incorporate complementary approaches believe it improves their quality of life, and 73 percent state it makes them feel hopeful. In addition, 71 percent say it helps to boost their immune system.


All patients under the care of a Northwestern Memorial oncologist are eligible to receive free integrative medicine services as part of their cancer treatment. The 360 Care Program was made possible by a generous gift from Abra Prentice Wilkin, board member of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and longtime supporter of the hospital.

For more information about integrative oncology at Northwestern Memorial or to schedule an appointment, call 312-926-DOCS (3627).

Integrative medicine showcased at a conference:

Faculty and speakers include Mark Houston, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Vanderbilt Medical School, and Director of Hypertension Institute, James Forsythe, MD, Nationally recognized leader in integrative oncology and many more. David Corbin, host and star of Pass It On, author of Illuminate and Harnessing the Positive Power of Negative, will give a special presentation that will leave you standing on your seats.

The conference will present 7 modules including Integrative Cardiology, Oncology, Gut and Immunity, The Brain, Memory, Mood and Sleep Disorders, Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome, Anti-Aging, HGH, HRT And Menopause, and a Friday night kick-off party add to the excitement of IFIM's integrative medicine conference. Physicians may earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Chiropractors, Naturopaths, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nutritionists and many other practitioners will also receive CE credits. Additionally, The IFIM is launching a certification program to become Board certified in Integrative Medicine.

"The Summer conference draws novice and seasoned professionals alike across from the medical spectrum," said Dr. Steven Ross, President for the IFIM. He adds, "With the high caliber of presenters, comprehensive assessment and treatment protocols and new skills to learn, this is truly a conference the practitioner will want to attend."
The Institute for Integrative Medicine is dedicated to educating physicians and other health care professionals on the latest findings and emerging procedures in complementary, alternative and integrative (CAIM) medicine. The IFIM is a leader in integrative medicine; “our goals are to improve physician skills, knowledge and diagnostic procedures, business acumen as they relate to complementary and alternative medicine; to support integrative medicine research; and to develop awareness of alternative methods of medical treatment.”, said Dr. Padilla, CEO of the IFIM.
“Integrative medicine treats the whole person, not simply the disease. It is quickly becoming mainstream medicine in the eyes of the public and the medical community,” said Dr. James Padilla. A guiding principle within integrative medicine is to use therapies that have high-quality evidence to support them, in terms of treatment and prevention.

Practitioners can register by visiting

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Drs. Ross or Padilla, please contact them at 858-676-1166 or e-mail Dr. Ross at

Dynamic chiropractic argues for a paradigm shift:


Preventing Disease vs. Promoting Health: A Big Difference

Of course, the most important aspect of health promotion and wellness is not disease prevention, but an emphasis on the patient as an integrated whole. Sickness is not just a body part or system exhibiting pathological changes. The medical solution holds that the best way to approach the patient is to not only treat disease after it occurs, but to prevent disease from occurring. This promotes a vision of the absence of disease as health, rather than a forward-looking goal of promoting health and wellness through healthy lifestyles. This point of view is exemplified by the chairman of the American Association of Integrative Medicine, who notes that to control health care costs, "We only treat disease after it occurs. The best way to reduce costs is prevention."3

If the medical paradigm continues its focus on disease and its underlying pathology, then how can we change disease care to health promotion? Broadly speaking, the emphasis on health care reform is not going to solve the problem without a paradigm shift in medicine. This is more difficult that the proverbial camel passing through the eye of a needle. The answer would seem to be health education reform.

The group within the health care system ostensibly charged with health education is no more focused on health promotion than is medicine. Health and physical education instructors, especially those in middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities, are often more focused on athletics than health promotion. The image many carry of physical-education teachers is that of an overweight coach who promotes athletic participation rather than promoting healthy lifestyles and lifelong activities that maximize fitness. The win-at-all-costs ethos is often fostered by the current health education system, rather than emphasizing excellence that promotes a healthy body and ethical character.4

How can we have a healthy society that fills the stands and couches with vegetative spectators? Where is health promotion in a society that tears apart the bodies of athletes while the masses become less fit watching the spectacle? Just as destructive to the bodies of individuals are the activities of the weekend warriors who participate in adult sports that lead to disability as they age. Activities that promote lifelong fitness are safer and more appropriate.

Promoting Healthy Lifestyle Choices

I have sat through health education courses in which the instructors presented the current medical paradigm with little emphasis on healthy lifestyle choices. While there is more emphasis today on eating healthy food, smoking cessation and promoting positive lifestyle changes, there needs to be more discussion of alternative and complementary therapies. For those chiropractors who wish to serve their patients as healthy lifestyle coaches, it is important that they also educate health and physical education instructors as to the role the chiropractic profession plays in health promotion and wellness.

Patients are choosing alternative care and looking for practitioners who have the knowledge and education to help them make healthy choices. Why not teach students in our educational institutions as to alternative options for health promotion and wellness? The current disease-prevention model of busy medical practitioners encourages costly screening for risks of specific diseases, but commonly does not allow time for conservative health promotion counseling. Health education reform and health care reform must emphasize reimbursement for those disciplines, including chiropractors who choose to practice as health educators.

One of the most successful chiropractic educational contributions to public service has been the Straighten Up program, which now has worldwide recognition. This type of program should serve as a model for other ways of fostering positive lifestyle changes. An animated presentation of theStraighten Upprogram to health-education classes gives true public service while presenting the chiropractic profession in a positive way. A presentation whereby students participate in the activity is suitable for grade school on up. TheStraighten Up program is being expanded to other areas of fitness. We are far beyond screening for postural analysis in malls as a practice-building activity, under the guise of public service.

A discussion of the importance of individual motion segment movement of the spine can be presented to health educators. Research headed by Henderson at Palmer University and Cramer at National University of Health Sciences demonstrates the effects of induced hypomobility and restricted motion on the zygapophyseal joints of the spine. This series of studies suggests the practicality that a line of research can attain when funding and cooperation from more than one chiropractic institution are maintained.5-9

Massage therapy conferences educate practitioners:

The Massage Therapy Foundation works to advance the knowledge and practice of massage therapy by supporting scientific research, education and community service. The foundation announced on Feb. 25 that it had received a $30,000 grand from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which is a division of the National Institutes of Health.

The grant will help support the second “Highlighting Massage Therapy in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) Research” conference to be held May 13-15, 2010, in Seattle, Washington.

“This NCCAM conference grant is an important demonstration of support—support of massage therapy’s presence in integrative medicine and support of the Massage Therapy Foundation’s role in bridging research and massage therapy practice," said Diana Thompson, immediate past president of the foundation and chair of the conference planning committee.

The “Highlighting Massage Therapy in CIM Research” conference will bring together massage and manual therapy practitioners, educators, CIM researchers, allied health professionals, and others interested in massage research. Current research related to massage and manual therapies will be presented, with a special focus on translational research and public health. To view the slate of speakers and to register for the conference, please visit

A CAM desk reference comes into the light:

The Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) has recently published the Clinicians’ and Educators’ Desk Reference on the Licensed Complimentary and Alternative Healthcare Professions.

This essential desk reference correctly states that it is time for traditional health care to become more integrated with complementary therapies, and that one of the primary blocks to that has been the lack of knowledge of traditional providers about the licensed professions that provide alternative care.

The public is more aware of complementary and alternative therapies than many clinicians, as evidenced by the huge rise in popularity of their use. This book is focused on fostering more collaboration among CAM practitioners and mainstream providers. The major chapters include Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, Direct-Entry Midwifery, and Naturopathic Medicine.

In addition, there are appendices on Ayurvedic Medicine, Holistic Medicine, Holistic Nursing, Homeopathy, Integrative Medicine, and Yoga Therapy.

Integrative medicine information is presented in NC:

As part of his continuing health series, John C. Pittman, MD, of the Carolina Center for Integrative Medicine (CCIM), will present two presentations focusing on Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD that are free and open to the public.  “Healing from Autism, ADHD, and other Autism Spectrum Disorders” will be held on Tuesday, February 23rd from 7-8PM at 4505 Fair Meadow Lane, Suite 111 in Raleigh.  “ADHD, Learning Disabilities, and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Helping Your Child from the Inside Out with Targeted Nutrition and Integrative Medicine” will be presented from 6-8PM on Wednesday, February 24th at the Fuquay Varina Community Center located at 820 S. Main Street.

“Children with autism and other autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) may certainly benefit from behavioral modification and structured education; however, a growing body of research indicates that clinical outcomes can be substantially improved with the help of specific dietary and biochemical interventions that help reduce stress on the immune system while bolstering the detoxification mechanisms,” explains Dr. Pittman.  “Many children also benefit greatly from the correction of gastrointestinal problems, heavy metal overload, brain inflammation, and nutrient deficiencies that are common in these children.”

The Carolina Center’s integrative approach to ASDs utilizes the DAN! protocol, which is aimed at reversing the underlying problems mentioned above, as well as addressing the unique biology of each child.  Advanced registration is required in case of cancellation.  To reserve your seat, contact the Carolina Center at (919) 571-4391 or via email at      

About The Carolina Center

The Carolina Center utilizes a combination of advanced complementary and alternative therapies, along with dietary and lifestyle modifications, to treat a wide variety of chronic illnesses and immune system dysfunctions. The primary goal is first and foremost to support the body’s ability to heal itself, while also addressing the underlying causes and changing the unique conditions that drive many diseases forward.  Along with individually tailored nutritional and botanical regimens, the Center utilizes a number of innovative approaches, including Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Colon Hydrotherapy, IV Glutathione, Cellular and Bioenergetic Testing, and various strategies for Biological Detoxification to help patients with chronic exposures to heavy metals, mold, parasites, and multiple chemicals.   For more information, call (919) 571-4391 or visit

Dr. Pittman is among the few physicians in North Carolina trained by the Autism Research Institute to deliver the Defeat Autism Now! Protocol.  In July 2009, he participated in an intensive clinical training with Elizabeth Mumper, MD, who serves as Medical Director for the Autism Research Institute, and is President and CEO of The Rimland Center for Integrative Medicine in Lynchburg, VA.  This training focused primarily on the DAN! approach to medical evaluation and treatment of children with Autism and ASDs.

NCTMB promotes integrative medicine at conference

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) has announced it will be exhibiting at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium in New York City, Feb. 26 to 27, 2010.

As more and more Americans turn to complementary and integrative medicine for preventative and cost-effective care, NCBTMB seeks to play an active role in promoting the efficacy of massage therapy in our nation’s health and wellness. In fact, a 2008 National Center for Health Statistics report found that 38 percent of adults used one or more complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies in the previous year. Of those CAM therapies, massage continues to rapidly gain acceptance. The number of Americans relying on the benefits of massage increased by 16 million from 1998 to 2008, according to a survey by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

At the Integrative Healthcare Symposium, NCBTMB will meet with educators, physicians, chiropractors, nurses, dieticians and other health-care practitioners to provide information about how massage is being incorporated into current medical models. NCBTMB is the only national massage and bodywork organization to exhibit at the symposium.

NCBTMB will also highlight some of the evidence-based research available on massage and its role in treatment plans; data that demonstrates the effectiveness of massage for patients experiencing pain, anxiety and/or depression due to cancer, psychological disorders, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and other conditions.

In addition, NCBTMB will provide ... information about its accredited exam programs. Representatives will explain that, by hiring national board certified therapists, employers are assured patients are treated by practitioners who are held to the highest ethics and standards in the profession.

Attendees are invited to stop by NCBTMB’s booth-–#511-– to enjoy a complimentary chair massage and engage in further discussions about the benefits of therapeutic massage and bodywork, to patients and health-care providers.


The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) was established in 1992 as an independent, private, nonprofit organization fostering the highest standards of ethical and professional practice in the delivery of therapeutic massage and bodywork through a recognized credentialing program. NCBTMB examinations are currently accepted or recognized in statute or rule by 37 states plus the District of Columbia. There are currently more than 90,000 professionals with NCBTMB certification. NCBTMB’s certification programs have been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

NCBTMB will also provide updates about the new Advanced Certification initiative, which is well under way. “The creation of this credential is critical in elevating massage in the eyes of more conventional health-care providers who wish to incorporate an integrative approach to their practice,” said NCBTMB Chief Executive Officer Paul Lindamood. “Advanced Certification will identify massage therapists who strive for a higher level of education, experience and expertise, and may be better prepared and suited for an outcome-based setting.”


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