In collaboration with Redazione Humanitas News published on 25 September 2018 in Diseases and Cures, News

Relaxation of muscles, reduction of stress, less pain and better sleep: these are some of the benefits that unconventional treatments, combined with medical and pharmacological treatments, bring to cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy.

According to the thesis – also published in the journal DBN magazine – “Shiatsu: unconventional treatment for the control of anxiety, pain and insomnia in the person undergoing radiotherapy” by Valentina Chini, nurse in the Radiotherapy and Radiosurgery unit of Humanitas, this discipline, in fact, can help “improve the quality of life and well-being of patients” and is “able to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy / radiotherapy”.

Pilot study and observation of patients

Over an observation period of five months, between May and September 2016, the patients were under  four sessions of Shiatsu. Before and after each session, they were asked to indicate the pain experienced on a scale from 0 to 10; sleep disorders were evaluated considering sex, age, cancer, the presence of difficulty in falling asleep and any causes, and the need to take medication to ensure sleep; finally, the patient’s usual state of anxiety was observed compared to that of ‘state’ (ie, that experienced by the patient at the time of observation)

The results showed a “clear decrease in symptoms” between the first session of Shiatsu and the fourth.

“The thesis – explained Chini – certainly brought interesting clinical results, but I never thought it would leave me so many emotions. The patients seemed to be ‘re-born’ – he added – and for me there was no better satisfaction. I can conclude by saying that this project has helped the patients a lot but no one can imagine what it has transmitted to me, it has filled my heart”.

Shiatsu and unconventional treatments in Humanitas

In the Radiotherapy department of Humanitas, Professor Marta Scorsetti, responsible for the radiotherapy service, and Antonio Modugno, technical coordinator and Shiatsu operator, have been carrying out the project “Reduction of stress during radiant treatments in the hospital through Shiatsu techniques” since 2013. Every week patients with ongoing radiotherapy treatments can take advantage of free sessions of this discipline. To date, more than a thousand treatments have been carried out, with excellent evaluations and positive feedback.

Here is the testimony, reported by Valentina Chini, that a patient has left after receiving the Shiatsu treatment: “cancer – he wrote – is a monster that upsets, affects you and those around you, but never as today life has taken color! In the radiation therapy department, people are once again people. Thank you for the humanity you offer to warm these wounded hearts.