About the Integrative Oncology Program

“Integrative health” is a term to describe therapies and practices that combine conventional and complementary approaches to address the medical, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of health and illness. Research shows that integrative modalities — including therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, aromatherapy, mindfulness and massage — can be beneficial in improving overall quality of life during cancer care.

At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), we understand the value of providing a holistic approach to care. We are committed through research, education and clinical care to providing the highest standard of evidence-based integrative therapies, in combination with conventional cancer care, to patients and their families throughout the cancer journey. The Integrative Oncology Program is part of CHOP's Integrative Health Program.

Ways our team is here to support you and your child

Multidisciplinary Integrative Oncology Clinic

Why? This is an opportunity for a consultation with a multidisciplinary integrative oncology team (oncologist, yoga therapist, acupuncturist, sports medicine physician, physical therapist, aromatherapist, nutritionist, psychologist and massage therapist), so as to develop a personalized integrative oncology plan for your child to help alleviate side effects of cancer and treatment, promote health and wellness, enhance innate healing and reduce distress and suffering both during and after cancer therapy.

Where? University City oncology clinic or appointment via telemedicine

Who will my child see? Tracey F. Jubelirer, MD, runs the multidisciplinary integrative oncology clinic. She is an oncologist in our Cancer Center with a particularly strong interest in supportive care for oncology patients focusing mainly on integrative health/oncology. As director of the Integrative Oncology Program, her goal is to not only develop a strong clinical team that provides supportive therapies to patients, but also conduct robust research to further understand the mechanisms, safety and efficacy of integrative therapies.

Your child may also have the opportunity to meet with the rest of the integrative oncology team during initial consultation. This will depend on your specific needs and recommendations from our team. Following your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to schedule follow-up for treatment sessions or further education with the appropriate integrative therapist.

Acupuncture

Why? Acupuncture can be used to help manage a variety of physical symptoms including pain, nausea and headache. Acupuncture has also been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety while promoting relaxation and a sense of general well-being.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, using acupuncture to balance the body's vital energy (qi) helps promote relaxation and support the normal functioning of the body which in turn helps to build resistance to disease.

According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture combined with pharmaceutical treatment can be more effective for treating cancer-related pain than pharmacotherapy alone.

Where? Acupuncture and acupressure consults are available on the inpatient oncology unit. Outpatient acupuncture is available by appointment at University City.

Who will my child see? Douglas McDaniel is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) and a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.). Since 2012, he has focused his practice on symptom management and general supportive care for pediatric hematology/oncology patients in a variety of inpatient and outpatient hospital settings.

Winona Chua, MD is a board-certified pediatrician who takes care of inpatients at CHOP. She is also a licensed physician acupuncturist. She is a fellow of both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.

Yoga

Why? Yoga can be used to help manage a variety of physical symptoms including pain, nausea, insomnia and fatigue. Yoga has also been shown to help improve some of the emotional conditions that accompany a cancer diagnosis including anxiety, depression and overall stress level. Yoga-based practices connect the mind, body and spirit and help improve the quality of our relationships with others by creating eudaimonic happiness and well-being.

Where? Individualized yoga therapy consults are available on the inpatient oncology unit and in our outpatient Specialty Care Centers in Voorhees, N.J., and King of Prussia, Pa. Outpatient yoga therapy sessions are also available via telehealth.

Who will my child see? Tonia Kulp, MS, C-IAYT is a certified yoga therapist, with advanced training in pediatric yoga and yoga for oncology. She is an iRest®Level 1 Teacher and certified Usui/Holy Fire Reiki Master Teacher, providing integrative therapies at CHOP since 2017. 

Maureen Heil, RAYT, RALC, RCYT, CRMT is a registered Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist and Counselor with pediatric training and a certified Usui Reiki Master Teacher since 2012.

Massage Therapy

Why? Massage can be used to help manage a variety of physical symptoms including pain, muscular discomfort, nausea, motility, insomnia and fatigue. Massage has also been shown to help improve some of the emotional conditions that accompany a cancer diagnosis including stress, anxiety, disconnection and depressed mood.

Self-massage, caregiver-assisted massage, and self-care-based practices connect our mind, body and spirit but also help improve the quality of how we feel in our bodies and in our relationships with others through bonding and connection.

Where? Individualized massage therapy consults are available currently at our Specialty Care Center in Voorhees, N.J. Outpatient massage therapy sessions are also available via telehealth.

Who will my child see? Tiffany Silliman Cohen, LMT, CPMTII, CIMT is a certified pediatric massage therapist and certified infant massage teacher, with advanced training in pediatric massage, infants with special health needs, hospital-based pediatric massage, trauma-informed pediatric massage and pediatric massage for oncology. She is a certified Usui Reiki practitioner, a mindfulness-based stress-reduction student and has been providing integrative therapies at CHOP since 2018.

Physical activity and exercise

Why? Physical activity and exercise are safe and helpful for children with cancer. Being active can help reduce fatigue, as well as increase strength, endurance and quality of life. We encourage children with cancer to be active for 30 to 60 minutes every day, with limitations determined by their care team. Children who are having difficulty with physical activity or want to find ways to improve endurance can work with a physical or occupational therapist as well as sports medicine physician.

Where? Consultations as part of the multidisciplinary integrative oncology clinic at University City or via telemedicine with follow-up as recommended by sports medicine and physical therapy

Who will my child see? Kristen P. DeVirgilio, PT, DPT, is a pediatric physical therapist at CHOP. She has worked on the inpatient oncology unit for the past 11 years providing patient care, education, and specialty training in the area of pediatric cancer rehabilitation. She helped develop and initiate the outpatient physical therapy oncology clinic program and has served as a primary therapist in this clinic for the past four years.

Brian Vernau, MD, is a pediatric and adolescent sports medicine specialist. He has special interests in treating athletes with medical problems and in keeping kids with medical problems physically active with exercise and sports. He helps to design an “exercise prescription” customized to each patient’s needs while keeping their medical history in mind.

Aromatherapy

Why? Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from the flowers, roots, leaves, seeds, bark or peel of certain plants to help boost a person’s mood or make them feel better. Used thoughtfully, aromatherapy can support a healing environment to help children as well as adults feel calmer and sleep better. It is also shown to reduce nausea, discomfort and pain.

Where can my child receive services? Consultations as part of the multidisciplinary integrative oncology clinic at the University City oncology clinic or via telemedicine with follow-up as needed

Who will my child see? Vanessa Battista and Lisa Squires, a board certified Holistic Nurse, a Certified Professional Aromatherapist and a member of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists.

Integrative Nutrition

Why? Eating the right foods can have incredible health benefits. Our nutrition program considers food as a medicine and uses it to improve health. Certain foods may help reduce amounts of medicine needed or ease side effects. For example, adding fiber to a child’s diet can help manage constipation, and eating specific foods can help relieve nausea.

Where can my child receive services? Consultations as part of the multidisciplinary integrative oncology clinic at the University City oncology clinic or via telemedicine with follow-up as needed

Who will my child see? A registered dietician with expertise in pediatric oncology and integrative health

For more information

To schedule a personalized consultation about integrating a holistic approach into your treatment and recovery, and to learn more about integrative oncology, call 267-426.0762 or email oncointake@email.chop.edu. For more information about how to access these therapies and practices, consult your care team or visit the Integrative Health website.


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