Complementary Therapy Education:


Heidi, thirty-five, was scheduled for a round of chemotherapy for breast cancer. The treatment was to take place on Friday and she and her husband had plans to start their holidays on Saturday. As is routine, she was called into the treatment center for a blood check on the Monday before to make sure her white cell count had recovered enough from the previous treatment to allow her to qualify for the next one. To her shock, she was told that her white count was only about half of what it should be and that she would probably have to forgo her vacation.

For four days she practiced imagery intensively several times per day, concentrating on raising her white blood count. She used images of the bone marrow releasing a steady, strong flow of white cells into her bloodstream and spreading throughout her body. She also imagined directing her breath into the bone marrow and thereby nourishing the stem cells (that produce the white cells) so that they could grow and release more white cells.

On that Friday, she went for another blood test. Her white count had more than doubled. She was able to have the treatment and the next day walk on the beach with her husband. Footnote: excerpt from (

There’s not much disagreement within the health-care arena that the mind-body connection is powerful and can have a direct influence on cell activity and immune function. Complementary therapies such as guided imagery, meditation, biofeedback, music therapy and therapeutic touch are being accepted as credible components in the Western treatment continuum, especially in disciplines that have elements of pain, stress (biologic or emotional), anxiety and chronicity. In focusing on dying patients and their families, Calea PalliativeCare encounters a dynamic perfectly suited to integrating the state of the art in both allopathic and complementary therapies.

Most dying patients want to optimize their interaction with family and friends, however, being alert and at peace can be difficult when anxiety and effects of narcotics combine to create states of somnolence and restlessness. Current therapy algorithms for pain and symptom management focus the treatment on narcotics and tranquilizers, limiting quality of life opportunities and interactions. In an effort to expand the tools and techniques available to the nurses, Calea PalliativeCare initiated a certificate course in complementary therapies. The curriculum consists of courses in aromatherapy, imagery, therapeutic touch and music therapy. We’ve discovered not only do patients and families benefit but we also become an employer of choice. Nurses are holistic healers. They innately connect with patients at a very basic, intimate level. Techniques such as guiding a patient through pain with music and touch empower both the patient and the nurse, enabling healthy control while maintaining alertness. Complementary therapies are a win/win for the nurse and the patient/family.

If you are interested in obtaining more information about Palliative care and how Calea PalliativeCare can help you please contact us at (905) 238-1903.