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  • Released November 23, 2015

    Patients of The Scarborough Hospital’s (TSH) Oncology program will soon have access to massage therapy, and patients of the hospital’s Palliative Care program will soon have access to an expanded mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy program.

    “We’re excited to be able to offer these complementary therapies to our global community,” said Robert Biron, President and CEO of TSH.

    “This marks an important milestone in the evolution of our Centre for Integrative Medicine, which is focused on helping health care providers and patients make informed choices about the safe and effective use of complementary therapies alongside Western medicine. In addition, the introduction of massage therapy marks the launch of an innovative new partnership with Centennial College.”

    Registered Massage Therapy students from Centennial College will deliver massage therapy to TSH oncology patients at the General campus.

    “Decades of empirical evidence has shown that massage therapy can help reduce many of the symptoms experienced by cancer patients, including pain, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and nausea,” said Maggie Mann, Faculty Member in the Massage Therapy program at Centennial College.

    “It’s an honour to partner with The Scarborough Hospital and bring this important therapy to oncology patients.”

    Mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy has been a part of TSH’s Psychosocial Oncology Support Team – otherwise known as POST – which the hospital’s Mental Health and Oncology programs launched in 2012.

    Recently, Mental Health and Oncology program staff partnered with members of the Centre for Integrative Medicine to expand mindfulness therapy into a five-step program, which uses technology, such as MP3 players and iPads, as well interactive sessions between patients and therapists. Part of the expanded program has been rolled out to patients in the hospital’s Oncology Clinic. The full program – including extending the services to palliative care patients – is expected to be in place by mid-2016.

    “Compared to the general population, the incidence of depression for cancer patients can be anywhere from two and a half to six and a half times greater, and yet over 70 per cent of these patients do not receive care for their mental health issues,” said Dr. Lynda Balneaves, Director of the Centre for Integrative Medicine.

    “By expanding mindfulness therapy, we are helping to address this unmet need and assisting patients with the anxiety and depression that is often experienced following a cancer diagnosis and during conventional cancer treatment.”

    More information about the Oncology and Palliative Care programs, as well as the Centre for Integrative Medicine, can be found on The Scarborough Hospital’s website.

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