More and more research is proving the importance of integrative medicine when used along side mainstream medicine. One of the commonly used forms of integrative medicine is massage and it's helping a lot of patients going through chemotherapy at the Avera Cancer Institute.
Virginia Graham of Sioux Falls found out in mid-February she has inflammatory breast cancer, a rare but aggressive type of breast cancer.
Virginia says, "It's like an infection. At first they treated like mastitis. They said they aren't going to do surgery until they kill the cells first."
Virginia has been getting chemotherapy at the Avera Cancer Institute for 3 months. Her husband Bob is always by her side and just recently Massage Therapist Selena McCreight has been stopping by too. Selena visits the different infusion suites to offer the gift of massage to patients who could use a little pampering during an anxious time.
Selena says, "Massage is very beneficial because it helps reduce anxiety which is the major side effect that cancer patients experience. It also helps alleviate their pain and it does reduce nausea."
Even if she isn't massaging them, Selena can simply hold their hand and that healing touch can get their mind off what they're going through.
Selena says, "It makes such a difference in their treatment it gives them something to look forward to more than just coming in and sitting for hours. And they really do spend hours here and it's kind of a relief part of their day. They seem very appreciate."
Virginia says, "My care has been wonderful and the massage relaxes me for sure."
Selena says, "Just talking to them helps ease nausea or anxiety because it calms them down."
It also reassures patients like Virginia and her husband that they aren't alone in their battle to be cancer free. Everyone here at Avera is hands on in their healing journey.
A lot of patients who include integrative medicine like massage into their treatment plan say it's one of the best things they can do for themselves. For a little while at least, they say it feels like they are floating.