Hospital uses two schools of medicine
WESTFIELD – Despite three cancer diagnoses in six years, Ann Clapp is upbeat and says one of her best defenses is receiving integrative therapies including Reiki.
Clapp, a patient of Steven Schonholz, M.D., FACS, medical director of the Center for Comprehensive Breast Health at Noble Hospital, was elated when she was also offered the complementary medicine program which includes reiki, acupuncture, AromaTouch therapy, and hypnotherapy.
“The program started April last year and took several months to organize,” Schonholz said during an interview with Reminder Publications. “We had several meetings with the practitioners regarding the times they would schedule their therapies, space that we would develop for the program, and the equipment required.”
Schonholz noted it was a “wonderful experience” during the planning stages and also credited The Pink Way for donating funds to change an examination room into a “beautiful” therapy room.
“I have always been interested in Complementary Medicine and the benefits it has in association with medical therapy,” he said. “I have had experience with reiki, zero balancing and other energy work, massage, aromatherapy, sound healing, hypnosis and acupuncture. I have always wanted the benefits of alternative medicine for my patients and have wanted to work with those individuals who would care for our breast cancer patients.”
Schonholz noted that the benefits have been multiple for his patients.
“Our patients are able to have any type of therapy offered before surgery, at the time of surgery, and following surgery,” he said. “Therapy sessions take place from several weeks, months to years following surgery. Therapy reduces stress, decreases side effects of medication, and I believe, improves healing.”
During a recent Friday morning visit to the center, Clapp was scheduled to receive a reiki treatment from Nancy Greenwood, a Reiki Master Teacher, who also happens to be a friend of Clapp’s for almost 50 years.
“We’ve been friends since high school,” said Clapp, noting that through the years they lost contact from time to time due to raising families but whenever they found time to get together, they picked up where they left off.
Clapp is now in remission but for the past six years she has battled breast, colon and kidney cancers, as well as several hip operations.
“Reiki is wonderful, and I find it very beneficial to me,” Clapp said, adding she encourages women to also consider integrative therapies as part of their healing process.
“Reiki has a wonderful calming effect if you allow it,” she added.
Greenwood echoed those sentiments.
“Reiki is a mind and body connection, but you have to be open to it,” said Greenwood.
Greenwood explained that reiki is one of the most ancient healing methods known to mankind.
“It is a term used to describe healing energy, a system for using this energy and a treatment process,” said Greenwood. “It involves your body, mind and spirit and attempts to set all these things into harmonious balance.”
Reiki’s energy comes through the healing practitioner to the person receiving a treatment.
“The energy does not come from the practitioner,” Greenwood said, adding that reiki has been referred to as a Universal Life Force, or other names depending on one’s culture and beliefs.
Greenwood noted there is no charge for any of the integrative therapies for patients of the Center for Comprehensive Breast Health. She also noted that patients should consider several treatments to ensure its “accumulative effect.”
“Reiki will go to the area where it is needed,” said Greenwood.
Clapp concurred with Greenwood’s comments.
“After my mastectomy, I had reiki treatments and was at peace with no pain,” Clapp said. “Reiki can be beneficial to your healing process after surgery if you are open to it.”
Greenwood added that reiki is “very compatible” with all forms of therapy.
“Reiki is a method of using energy to heal the self and others, using one’s energy and self-healing abilities. Like sunlight through a magnifying glass, the energy blossoms into a rainbow of healing,” Greenwood said.
“What sets us apart at Noble Hospital is that we offer these treatments to every one of our cancer patients,” Schonholz said, adding, “whether they have been recently diagnosed or had been diagnosed years prior.”
Schonholz added that therapists can also see patients in their own private offices if it is more convenient for the individual.
“No referral is required to use our facility,” he said, noting appointments can be made weekdays during regular center hours.
Greenwood noted that some of the patients who have suffered from nausea from chemotherapy have received reiki treatments and left the sessions feeling uplifted.
“When they leave the session the body is balanced and when the body is balanced, healing occurs,” Greenwood said.
Schonholz also emphasized the special relationship the center has with the Center for Human Development and the Cancer House of Hope.
“They have shown us the way with the many years of experience, guidance and healing,” he said.
Practitioners who are also part of the complementary medicine program are Carol Tivoli, reiki; Angelina Duquette, reiki; Rebecca Shwartz, ND, L.Ac, naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist; Valerie Demerski, AromaTouch Therapy; Shelley Keeney, AromaTouch Therapy; Theresa Neece, reiki; Nancy Carter-Price, reiki; Ann H. Buscemi, CHT, hypnotherapist; Lynda Schmid, EMP, reiki, and Maureen Suriner, EMP, reiki.
For more information on the Center for Comprehensive Breast Health, call 572-6070.