Childhood Cancer

Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

Complementary treatments

In recent years, increasing research has been done on mind-body medicine and its effect on coping with the side effects of illness. Complementary (also called adjunctive) therapies are those that can be expected to add something beneficial to the treatment. For example, imagery and hypnosis are widely used to help children and teens prepare for or cope with medical procedures. Other helpful complementary therapies are relaxation, biofeedback, massage, visualization, acupuncture, meditation, music therapy, aromatherapy, Reiki, and prayer.

Christine was terrified of needles, and it was a nightmare every time we went in to get her port accessed or blood drawn. We went to a psychologist who specialized in methods to cope with pain. She taught my daughter visualization. They made an audiotape of an underwater snorkeling trip. It included watching all of the colorful fish and feeling the soothing warm water. She would listen to it in the clinic, or visualize the trip without the tape. It really helped her develop a technique to cope with accessing the port.