Zen sanctuary for cancer patients

June 30, 2009 3:56:35 PM PDT
From aroma-therapy to yoga, one local hospital is taking a new approach for cancer patients and their families. The pilot program allows for bedside yoga and other therapies that help promote integrative care. And if this proves helpful, it could become a model for future care around the country.

At Beth Israel Medical Center, cancer care is becoming a little more zen. For example, Lindsay Guzman is doing yoga. And in the midst of chemo, it provides a little calm, for both her and her mother.

And down the hallway, a little lavender helps another patient. Nurses are trained to do aroma-therapy, and there's more. Nurses are relaxing too, with meditation classes inside the new urban zen sanctuary.

The room is also open to patients, family members, staff and anyone who needs a little escape. The whole project is funded by designer Donna Karan, who lost her husband cancer.

Dr. Woodson Merrell hopes to prove that this kind of healing can actually lower medical costs, particularly in the area of pain and anxiety management. He hopes this holistic approach will one day become standard.

Dr. Merrell is the chairman of the Department of Integrative Medicine. He says if the research is positive, the National Cancer Institutes could then help keep the pilot program going.

For more information, visit UrbanZen.org and WeHealNY.org.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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