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The Zakim Center for Integrated Therapies

March-April 2002

The Leaonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, the new span connecting Boston and Charleston, honors the memory of a Boston citizen with a gift for building bridges between communities. Zakim died in December 1999 of multiple myeloma, a form of cancer affecting bone marrow. While being treated by oncologists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Zakim also made use of accupunctue, massage, meditation, exercise, nutrition, and support groups to ameliorate his symptoms. The regimen of complementary therapies, he said in a taped interview, "put me in the best physical shape I've been in since the days I played high-school football."

In November 2000, Dana-Farber opened the Zakim Center for Integrated Therapies, offering cancer patients a range of options that include acupuncture, mind-body techniques, exercise programs (like yoga) , therapeutic touch (including Japanese reiki), nutritional consultation, music therapy, and massage therapy. Most health insurers do no yet cover and of these resources. But if research deomnstartes that such interventions reduce the need for pain medication (and hence drug costs), the insurance benefits could change, says Oliver professor of hygiene and University Health Services director David S. Rosenthal '59, medical director of the Zakim Center and former president of the American Cancer Society. Rosenthal notes that clinical evidence indicates that accupuncture is effectve for pain, and can also decrease side effects of the chemotehrapy, like nausea - as well as improve emotional states such as anxiety, stress, and depression.