Massage, Acupuncture and Shiatsu


Integrative Therapies: Acupuncture & Massage

The Health and Wellness Suite at the Cowell Family Cancer Center includes three integrative therapy rooms for patients, caregivers and family members, as well as the community. Eastern and Western therapies are featured. The Health and Wellness Suite also includes an exercise studio and a meditation room. 

Integrative or complementary therapies are products, practices, and systems that complement mainstream medicine. They are not “alternative” to mainstream medicine. They include holistic, self-care, or other care techniques that are integrated into a patient care plan to improve the overall care and wellness of a person. We call these “complementary” because they are used along with traditional medical treatment to help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life during cancer treatment.

Integrative therapies assist with anxiety, stress management, pain, and relief from some cancer treatment side effects. Examples include meditation to reduce stress, peppermint or ginger tea for nausea, and guided imagery to help relieve stress and pain during medical procedures. 

Patients who are thinking about using any integrative therapies should first discuss it with their health care team.

Fees and Insurance Coverage

Integrative bodywork services are fee based. Some people have insurance coverage, an HSA, or other medical savings account plans that include integrative services, but many do not. Munson Medical Center requires payment for service and issues a receipt for use for self-reimbursement with HSA, medical savings and/or insurance coverage. A sliding fee scale for services offers below-market rates to Cowell Family Cancer Center patients.

Schedule an Appointment

For a current list of integrative services offered, please call 231-392-8400

Types of Therapies


A form of Chinese medicine that dates back thousands of years. Acupuncture treatments are done by placing very fine, sterile needles into specific locations along acupuncture channels or meridians in the body. These channels circulate with the “qi” or body’s energy, along with blood and body fluids to promote circulation, healthy function of organs, detoxification, healing and balance. Acupuncture also stimulates the central nervous system, triggering systems of repair and regeneration. 

When our bodies are not balanced and qi is not free flowing, stagnation of qi, blood, and phlegm in the channels can occur. This can lead to disease, illness, and pain. Research has shown that acupuncture, in conjunction with traditional therapies, can be an effective form of treatment and help manage symptoms and side effects from both cancer and cancer treatment. 

Acupuncture can benefit cancer patients by reducing nausea and vomiting, pain, and other side effects from radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery including insomnia, digestive issues, fatigue, hot flashes and emotional disturbances, such as stress, anxiety and depression. Acupuncture treats the body as a whole by connecting organ systems, increasing blood production, and enhancing immune function. 

Clinical Massage Therapy 

Involves manipulation, rubbing, and kneading of the body’s muscle and soft tissue. Some studies suggest massage can decrease stress, anxiety, depression, muscle spasms, tension headaches and pain. Massage can increase a sense of wellbeing, relaxation, alertness and endorphins (feel-good hormones) in the brain. Research shows massage benefits for oncology patients include decreased nausea, depression, anxiety, insomnia, pain, and numbness or tingling in hands and feet.

Massage may include therapeutic, relaxation, Swedish, cranial sacral, reflexology, deep tissue, clinical acupressure, passive stretching, manual lymphatic draining, and pregnancy. It also may include use of essential oils for aromatherapy or hot stones. 

Lymphedema Massage

Performed by a certified lymphedema massage therapist, this aids in lymphatic drain to improve pain and swelling of lymphedema. The specialized technique includes gentle touch directed toward the heart from the fingertips, up the arm and toward the shoulder, and uses specific directions and strokes to stimulate lymphatic vessels and result in manual lymph drainage.

Oncology Massage 

Designed specifically for cancer patients in treatment using a gentle touch aimed to relieve pain and stiffness, with adjustments for chemotherapy ports, post-surgery and treatment side effects, and skin conditions.