Patients are using additional therapies to complement their cancer treatments, including exercise. Dr. David Spiegel, Director of Stanford’s Center for Integrated Medicine sees value the holistic approach to cancer care: “It’s a part of health care where the patient is more in the driver’s seat.” Spiegel is a Harvard-educated psychiatrist who leads a team that uses hypnosis, meditation, massage and acupuncture to reduce pain and anxiety in patients.

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Instead of bed rest Dr. Spiegel prescribes exercise. He believes it fosters a sense of control and self-confidence and sees it being viewed more and more as an excellent tool in cancer treatment and recovery.
“There’s more and more evidence that exercise during cancer treatment, as well as after it, is a very helpful component.”

The medical consensus on exercise has changed over the last decade says Joyce Hanna, Director of Stanford’s Living Strong, Living Well exercise program for cancer patients.

“When we started our program, we had support, but everyone wasn’t really convinced at that point,” whereas doctors encourage parents to take the course. Hanna says exercise helps patients stay physically and mentally strong. The program is 12 weeks long and runs three times per year at 10 Bay Area YMCAs. The focus is on rebuilding muscles and sustaining balance in chemotherapy patients.

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“A lot of people talk about how it gives them a sense of control after feeling totally out of control.” says Hanna.

As well as gaining the benefits of exercise patients often form informal support groups. “We don’t sit around and talk, because we’re exercising,” says Hanna, “but it obviously can be a supportive group.”

The program at Angeles hospital uses a variety of holistic therapies, sometimes integrated with more traditional methods. To learn more please contact us using the form to your right.