Easing the Burden of Illness, Surgery, and Injury

by Melissa Schleicher-Park | Apr 03, 2019

One of the many great benefits of being a Medical Fitness Facility is that we are not only able to help people become healthier but we're also able to help people ease the burden of illnesses and injuries. Many members of Galter LifeCenter and patients of Swedish Covenant Hospital have found our Integrative Therapy Services to be invaluable for everything from easing symptoms of cancer treatment to recovering from surgeries, joint replacements, and injuries. These members and patients are especially grateful that in many cases, our staff at Galter LifeCenter are able to communicate with Swedish Covenant physical therapists and medical staff to ensure a fully integrated treatment plan.

The treatment of cancer often results in many unpleasant side effects such as nausea, insomnia, neuropathy (nerve dysfunction causing numbness or weakness), pain, cognitive issues and more. In addition to these side effects, anxiety and depression can often accompany such a diagnosis. When received regularly, acupuncture, massage therapy, and watsu have all been shown to reduce symptoms of cancer treatment. Thanks to generous donations made to the Integrative Cancer Care Program through the Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation, Galter has been able to provide these services to oncology patients at no cost to them. We have now had several oncology patients complete a series of these services, and all have reported improvement in their symptoms. 

Some of these oncology patients came to Galter LifeCenter as a result of their diagnoses. Some were already members. It has been amazing to see the change in them from before they started these services to the completion of them. They seem lighter, as though a burden has been lessened. Not only do they report experiencing benefits physically and mentally, but any observer can see and hear improvements in their physical demeanor and in their voices. It's incredible!

Additionally, patients and loved-ones are often taken aback that these services are available to them for free. A cancer diagnosis is life-altering, and not just for the patient but for all of the patient’s loved-ones as well. Our affiliation with the Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation is one of the many things that make the Galter community unique. Not only do these services aid in the healing of these patients, but simply knowing they are a part of a community that genuinely cares about them, surely aids in the healing process.

Many SCH patients and Galter members have also made our Integrative Therapy Services a part of their recovery process after surgeries and injuries. We had one gentleman who had both knees replaced at different times. He got regular massage at GLC while going to physical therapy for the second knee replacement but not for the first. He reported that he recovered much more quickly and easily from the second knee replacement, and he attributes that largely to massage. His SCH physical therapist suggested doing this. We paired him with a massage therapist before the surgery, the massage therapist and physical therapist devised a plan, and they remained in communication every step of the way. The ongoing feedback that these healthcare providers were able to provide each other really took the level of care they were able to provide this patient to the next level.

We've also even had people who have avoided surgery entirely after incorporating acupuncture, massage, or watsu along with physical therapy and lifestyle changes. Some even report that Integrative Therapies have worked for them when nothing else has. Clients report reductions in chronic pain, headaches and migraines, anxiety and depression, as well as an increase in a general sense well-being. They report simply being happier, more at ease, and content.

Integrative Therapies are so powerful. Not only are they able to aid in recovery on a physiological level but on an emotional level as well. Especially when used for injury recovery, there can be some discomfort associated with these therapies, but our therapists always work within the client’s comfort level, regularly garnering feedback. More often than not, clients walk out of these sessions feeling quite euphoric. The sense of calm and relaxation can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and this can be a welcome respite over the course of medical treatment. Swedish Covenant medical staff are known for their kindness and compassion. Medical treatment, however, is by its nature often cold and unpleasant. Offsetting this with Integrative Therapies creates a treatment plan that cares for the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. Clients leave feeling calm, enriched, and empowered to navigate their way through difficulties from a place of greater ease and peace of mind.

"I keep coming back because it is a safe place for me to work out, given that it is connected to a medical center." - Ellen