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Complementary Therapies


Emerson Hospital offers a wide array of complementary therapies that are frequently used by patients undergoing cancer treatment or surgery and women during childbirth. Also known as integrative therapies, complementary therapies are non-medical treatments that augment standard medical care. Patients who use complementary therapies report less pain and reduced anxiety.

Patients with a variety of medical concerns use complementary therapies to reduce stress and to relieve nausea and other symptoms. Emerson offers complementary therapies for:

Childbirth – Reiki, aromatherapy and hypnobirthing are complementary therapies that are popular with obstetrical patients.

Surgery – The “Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster” workshop teaches mind-body techniques that help patients prepare for surgery and recovery. Evidence shows that participants in the program report less pain, fewer complications and recover more quickly.

Cancer – A wide array of complementary therapy services help patients with cancer reduce anxiety and manage the physical and emotional effects of treatments. To ensure that cancer patients have access to massage therapy and acupuncture, the Emerson Auxiliary underwrites these services so they are offered free of charge. Acupuncture can help control nausea and prevent the fatigue associated with chemotherapy.

The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden in Harvard, MA, offers cancer patients therapeutic services, educational programs, and a community of supportregardless of cancer diagnosis, gender or financial limitations.

Thier therapies include:

  • Acupuncture – An ancient Chinese therapy, acupuncture uses very thin needles placed into the skin at precise points to influence energy flow and reduce pain, nausea and vomiting.
  • Yoga – An ancient practice that involves learning to focus and control breathing, plus movement exercises. Studies show yoga can reduce stress and anxiety and increase flexibility and strength.
  • Guided Imagery – A technique of taking your mind to a calm, peaceful place in order to relax and relieve stress.
  • Massage – For thousands of years, many different styles of massage therapy have used various types of pressing, rubbing or manipulating muscles and soft tissue with the hands and fingers to increase relaxation, foster healing and promote wellness.
  • Music and Art Therapy – Used to improve mood, increase relaxation and reduce anxiety.
  • Reiki and Jin Shin Jyutsu – Ancient Japanese energy therapies that direct gentle touch to the body’s energy pathways to increase relaxation, reduce anxiety and promote well-being.
  • Aromatherapy – Fragrant plant oils are put on the skin, sprayed in the air or inhaled to relieve stress, lower blood pressure and pulse and improve relaxation.
  • Qi Gong and Tai Chi – Through movement, breathing exercises, meditation and posture strengthening, this practice promotes living mindfully with contentment, calmness, steadiness and strength.  

Support Services and Groups

Emerson offers a wide range of community health and wellness programs and classes designed to provide you with up-to-date information so you can take care of your health and make informed health care decisions. These programs address a wide range of topics including heart-healthy eating with cooking demonstrations, programs that use hypnosis to help participants quit smoking or lose weight, and stress reduction programs that use yoga, meditation, Reiki and Qigong.