Cityfront: There are alternatives

Cityfront There are alt

cancer patient 248.88 (photo credit: )
cancer patient 248.88
(photo credit: )
From reflexology to reiki to Thai massage, alternative medicine is significantly benefiting cancer patients in Israel. Patients praise the treatments for relaxing their body and mind, reducing pain and engendering a positive attitude. Yuri Shtern, a former member of the Knesset who promoted the regularization of non-conventional medicine in Israel, experienced the same positive effects of alternative treatment during his battle with cancer in 2006 and 2007. Thanks to his holistic approach, Shtern was better able to deal with the side effects of the medicine and deal with the cancer on a physiological level. When Shtern died in January 2007, his son Marik said that their family "…decided that we wanted to share our experience with integrative medicine with as many cancer patients as possible." The Yuri Shtern Foundation established the Yuri Shtern Holistic Center for Cancer Patients in September 2007. "We believe that in treating any disease, we should address the physical aspects and the emotional aspects together," says Shtern. "You can't give a cancer patient only chemotherapy without trying to understand the emotional and psychological roots of his disease." Today, the center reaches those in need in hospitals around Israel free of charge. Up to 70 volunteers go to the Sha'are Zedek Medical Center weekly, where a total of 350 patients receive treatment on a regular basis. Three volunteers work at the Hadassah-University Medical Center at Ein Kerem, offering treatment to 50 cancer patients. And in September the center established an outpatient clinic at the Ma'agan-Tishkofet House, where 25 volunteers provide treatment three days a week. "The Yuri Shtern Holistic Care Center provides complementary and alternative medicine treatments to counteract the forces of pain, depression and despair experienced by many cancer patients," Shtern explains. Personal testimonies serve to confirm that patients from all walks of life have greatly benefited from treatment that helps them cope physically and physiologically with their illness. Rina Cohen, a resident of Safed who suffers from breast cancer, says, "Thanks to the reflexology, the side effects of the chemo have been significantly reduced. I feel that the positive effect of the treatment is increasing, as is the ability of my body to cope with the chemotherapy." Despite such success, the holistic center is struggling financially. On Friday December 4, the center will be holding a sale at the International Cultural and Community Center at Rehov Emek Refaim 12, and will offer everything from holistic treatments to designer clothing to paintings. Patients are the first ones to advocate for the center, saying that it must stay open for the sake of their physical and physiological well-being. "Following a massage, my mood as a whole improves," says cancer patient Avigayl Turgeman. "I am very grateful to Ilana [a volunteer] and to all the people who have organized this project. They are so willing to help severely ill patients with such patience."