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Meet the Integrative Therapies Team
Acupuncture uses fine, sterile needles applied to specific areas of the body to stimulate energy flow. It can help reduce stress and relieve symptoms and side effects related to cancer treatment such as anxiety, nausea, dry mouth and fatigue. Acupressure involves applying gentle pressure to these same points with the hands. The acupuncturist will work with you and your care team to decide if acupuncture or acupressure could be beneficial for you.
Specialty: Acupuncture, Tai Chi & Qi Gong Education/Training: Master of Business Administration, Master of Acupuncture, Licensed by the Board of Medicine of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Certification: Certified Eight Active Ingredients of Tai Chi Instructor Years at MGHCC: Since 2012
What drew you to your specialty? For more than 30 years, I have recognized the value of supportive modalities in our current health care systems. My role here gives patients an opportunity to expand their options for care and self-care.
Favorite part of your job: Being on the forefront of advancing evidence-based integrative medical care at the Cancer Center while working closely with a diverse team of Eastern and Western-trained providers, offering care and support to patients and their families.
What you’d like to tell patients/family members about integrative therapies/your specialty: Over the past two decades the number of well-designed, clinical trials for both acupuncture and tai chi, document the high value/low cost of these interventions in improving patient outcomes. Having served as a Senior Tai Chi Instructor over the last ten years in Harvard Medical School-based NIH-funded trials evaluating Tai Chi for chronic heart failure, osteopenic women, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as for its effects on frailty in elderly adults, I have seen first-hand significant improvement in health outcomes in research settings. Now this strong scientific foundation allows us to bring their modalities into clinical setting with a high degree of confidence and safety.
Specialty: Acupuncture Education/Training: Master’s of Acupuncture, New England School of Acupuncture Certification: Licensed Acupuncturist (MA Board of Registration in Medicine), Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM) Years at MGHCC: Since 2016
What drew you to your specialty? I had always been interested in working in health care since I was young but wasn’t sure the route I wanted to take. After seeking acupuncture to help recover from sports injuries, I knew I had found my way. The help that it brought me was something I wanted to be able to offer to others.
Favorite part of your job: Connecting with patients and working with them in an integrative setting. Working side by side with an excellent team of care providers, I can deliver the best that acupuncture can offer to every patient. Acupuncture can help with a huge variety of concerns and I am able to support each patient individually, no matter what is going on in their life.
What you’d like to tell patients/family members about integrative therapies/your specialty: Acupuncture is for everyone- adults and children alike. We formulate treatments that are appropriate for your needs and concerns, no matter what you’re experiencing that day. We’re not limited to needling- we offer acupressure and other treatments without needles as part of your care.
Specialty: Acupuncture Education/Training: Licensed Acupuncturist; New England School of Acupuncture: Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAOM) Certification: Diplomat in Oriental Medicine: National Certification Committee on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Licensed Acupuncturist in Massachusetts Years at MGHCC: Since 1993 (in biomedical research). Since 2016 (as a member of the acupuncture team).
What drew you to your specialty? Prior to coming to the United States, I was a practicing physician in China. It was there where I first witnessed how powerful acupuncture can be as part of a treatment regimen – how it supports patients’ strength, stamina and quality of life. I trained in acupuncture in the United States, and my years of practicing here have proven to me that it is very effective in helping patients manage both their condition, the side effects of their treatments, and their vast range of emotions.
Favorite part of your job: Working in the Cancer Center is incredibly rewarding, as I am able to work closely with patients who are going through a very challenging time – both physically and emotionally. I feel honored to be able to help patients at such a vulnerable time in their lives. When it comes to fighting cancer, I believe that patients need to look at themselves as a whole – my work empowers patients to do just that. Witnessing a patient's strength and seeing the support from their loved ones is inspirational to me and encourages me to do my best for them.
What you’d like to tell patients/family members about integrative therapies/your specialty: Acupuncture is one of several integrative services we offer to help patients manage the symptoms and side effects of cancer and cancer treatment. There is intense collaboration among all members of a patient’s care team, and that gives patients the best support and treatment possible. The team mentality is really powerful, which allows us to treat the “whole” patient. Working with this team to provide patients with multiple options for their care has been an honor.
Specialty: AcupunctureEducation/Training: Licensed Acupuncturist; Master’s in Acupuncture, New England School of AcupunctureYears in practice: 19 yearsYears at MGHCC: Since 2011What drew you to your specialty? I was always interested in medicine. While volunteering for a health center in the early 90’s, patients told me that acupuncture was helpful in treating side effects from their HIV medications. I ended up going to graduate school and getting my master’s in acupuncture. I have always enjoyed helping people, especially those with chronic or serious illness. Acupuncture was a great fit for me in that regard. I view acupuncture as the perfect complement to medical care since it can alleviate both the emotional and physical symptoms that can occur during cancer diagnosis and treatment.Favorite part of your job: My favorite part of the job is easing people’s anxiety as they go through a very difficult time in their life. I am lucky enough to be able to follow them from beginning to end of their cancer journey. Our program provides consistent care and support for them. I have learned a lot about patience, grace and resilience from the many wonderful people I have met.What you’d like to tell patients/family members about integrative therapies/your specialty: Acupuncture (and acupressure) is offered to cancer patients free of charge. We provide treatments during their stay in the chemo infusion unit, radiation unit and/or inpatient cancer floors. We also provide self-pay outpatient acupuncture treatments as well. We recommend you start acupuncture as soon as possible, even if you are not currently experiencing symptoms. The treatment’s effects are cumulative. You will benefit most from consistent treatment. Our focus is on alleviating both emotional and physical symptoms and side effects that may occur during your cancer treatment. Symptoms may include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, hot flashes, constipation, pain and neuropathy. If interested, please speak to your oncology team about scheduling appointments.
Specialty: Acupuncturist and Co-Director, Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program. Education/Training: M.Ac Certification: Licensed by the Board of Medicine Years at MGHCC: Since 2003
What drew you to your specialty? I wanted to practice a clinical intervention that focused on enhancing a person's quality of life and physical and emotional well being. Acupuncture is a supportive care intervention that can help oncology patients feel as well as possible during and after treatment for cancer.
Favorite part of your job: Working with patients and families. Collaborating with colleagues to increase access to our services.
What you’d like to tell patients/family members about integrative therapies/your specialty: We are part of your interdisciplinary care team and are here to support you from diagnosis throughout your treatment and beyond.
Specialty: Adult Radiation OncologyEducation/Training: BS in Nursing, MAOM (Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), Acupuncture Fellow at New York Beth Israel Hospital's Integrative Medicine Dept (2010-2011)Certification: NCCAOM, OCNYears in practice: 6 yearsYears at MGHCC: 4 yearsWhat drew you to your specialty? After working for many years as an oncology nurse I became interested in learning additional ways to manage the side effects of the chemo and radiation, and improve quality of life. Multiple acupuncture research studies have showed the efficacy of treating common side effects from chemo, including nausea, hot flashes and dry mouth.Favorite part of your job: Educating patients that are new to acupuncture and seeing the positive changes they experience.What you’d like to tell patients/family members about integrative therapies/your specialty: Acupuncture is a very safe, gentle medicine that can have illicit significant results. It is typically a calming experience that patients look forward to as it creates a quiet space for resting the mind and body. I frequently hear from patients that receive regular acupuncture during their course of radiation that they find it they have “a better day" after they have an acupuncture treatment. This can mean many things from a decrease in symptoms to improved sleep quality to a sense of calmness or mental clarity.
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