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New class helps cancer patients, caregivers cope

woman with yoga mat

Integrative Therapies recently added a weekly Mindful Yoga class at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis — providing another avenue of support for patients, families and associates.

The 30-minute class is being offered at 11:30 Thursdays in the Yoga Room of the seventh-floor Cancer Institute and there is no cost for hospitalized oncology patients and their family caregivers. Cost for hospital associates is $6 per session.

“In addition to providing another avenue of support for patients, having a half hour to focus just on themselves may be especially beneficial to family members and other caregivers,” says Tari Hopper, a registered nurse on the unit.

Integrative Therapies owner Sheli Sturgeon Lawler and her staff also provide massage therapy in the Cancer Institute’s Integrative Therapies area, located adjacent to the theater. Cancer patients receive one session at no cost during each hospitalization thanks to dollars raised by Philanthropy and Via Christi Volunteers, Partners in Caring.

Patients and staff can make arrangement for massages on the unit, but there is a professional fee that varies depending on the length and type of massage.

“The massages help patients battling cancer reduce their anxiety and stress, which helps them better respond to their medical treatments,” says Lawler, noting that they typically experience less pain and sleep more soundly. “The Mindful Yoga class helps expose patients to the benefits of restorative yoga, a gentle form that is mentally refreshing yet not physically taxing.”

Massage and mindful yoga help empower patients by giving them an avenue for improving their quality of life, says Lawler, noting that caregivers, including those who serve in the hospital, also benefit as they often take on others’ stress and need a way to cope.

To schedule a massage or get more information on the class, call 316-350-7925.

Via Christi is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.

About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Ascension Via Christi.