Alternative Medicine Checks in to the Hospital
"Our major focus is in cancer treatment and cancer prevention, and we
hold weekly meditation groups for cancer patients and their families," says
Gaynor, the author of several books including "Sounds of Healing: A
Physician Reveals the Therapeutic Power of Sound, Voice, and Music."
Meditation using sound and music helps patients feel better, he says.
"Sound and music are two of the most overlooked healing modalities
ever," Gaynor tells WebMD. "All systems in the body are profoundly
For example, music and sound can lower heart rate, blood pressure levels,
and levels of stress hormones.
In one study, heart patients who listened to 15 minutes of classical music
had lower complication rates than those who didn't listen to classical music,
Gaynor was recently appointed medical director of the Cornell Center for
Complementary and Integrative Medicine -- which is slated to open on September
1, 2000. "The goal of this new center is to incorporate guided imagery,
nutrition, music, acupuncture, acupressure, and massage into traditional care
and to examine how this works on a basic science level," he says.
Gaynor's advice to patients who are interested in complementary medicine is
to "find a physician who really practices alternative medicine. He or she
can help you identify the core issues and traumas that affect illness and make
a recommendation as to what type of alternative therapy may best help
- Alternative therapies that help patients to relax are becoming common
additions to traditional cancer treatment. Initial studies suggest massage
therapy, acupuncture, or guided imagery helped patients relax and deal with
pain after receiving standard open-heart surgery as well.
- A therapist says that sound and music also may help patients relax.
- The researcher says patients interested in incorporating these
complementary therapies into their treatment should find a physician who
practices alternative medicine and ask for advice about which treatments might
be helpful to them.