Integrative Cancer Support
Living with, through and beyond cancer.
Aura Integrative Medicine Clinic manages the mind, body, and spirit, when addressing patients with a diagnosis of cancer. Modalities of movement, touch, nutrition, and mindfulness are used within conventional cancer care to address and improve symptoms and quality-of-life. Smitha Nair, MD makes recommendations that are symptom driven and evidence-based. The Integrative Oncology services offered at Aura provides a partnership between the patient and his or her oncology team. Patients will receive individualized care plans and ongoing education about integrative therapies.
What is integrative oncology?
Integrative oncology, or integrative medicine, refers to the use of complementary, or integrative, therapies in collaboration with standard treatment methods (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation) to threat the patient's body, mind and spirit. Integrative therapies contribute to the overall goals of treatment, symptom management, distress relief, and may improve overall treatment efficacy and adherence.
Defining the Terms
Conventional cancer therapies: cancer treatments that are widely practiced and have been proven beneficial in clinical research trials. These are often called standard care and may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or hormonal therapy. Complementary and alternative medicine and practices (CAM): not considered standard treatments, though many can be beneficial to cancer patients.
- CAM therapies fall into two categories: complementary and alternative.
- Complementary medicines: cancer therapies used in conjunction with conventional medical treatments. For example, acupuncture and guided imagery may be used to manage nausea caused by chemotherapy. Dr. Nair collaborates with the best integrative practitioners in town to co-ordinate your care.
What modalities are considered integrative therapies?
- Mind-body methods - Mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, guided imagery, yoga, music therapy, creative/expressive therapies and spirituality.
- Biologically based practices - Vitamins, herbs, foods, special diets
- Body based practices - Massage, Shirodhara.
- Other medical delivery systems - Chinese medicine including acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine.
Talking to your healthy care team about integrative oncology therapies
The key to integrating these therapies into your cancer care is to talk about it with your healthcare team. Although many integrative therapies can be helpful, others have been proven ineffective or can interact with your standard cancer treatments or other medications. In recent years, oncology providers have become more aware of promising integrative therapies safely. Your team can help guide you towards therapies that may beneficial to your care needs based on your symptoms, coping and stress reduction needs. It is important that all of your care providers know what therapies you are using and work together to provide you with optimal treatment. This includes your integrative medicine providers. An oncology social worker or navigator can also help you with coordinating care and facilitating communication amongst providers. Dr. Nair will ensure that your oncologist is provided with a visit note of any recommendations she may have made at the time of your visit to enrsure everyone is on the same page.
Are integrative treatments covered by my insurance?
These therapies are not typically covered by insurance, but some plans so cover therapeutic massage, acupuncture, some psychological treatment methods, and nutrition counseling. Contact your insurance company to inquire about these benefits.
Currently Accepting New Patients
We attend to all aspects of an individual’s life, including health, family, community, nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, self-care and renewal and guide you to better health.
Our mission is to make patients feel they are listened to and to help them find answers to their problems using a compassionate and wholistic approach.
Address: 18 Carlisle Street Suite 103
Gettysburg, PA 17325
We address the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. We care for the whole person using a mind, body spirit approach.