Integrative Medicine & Complementary Services

Integrative Medicine & Complementary Services

Pediatric yoga

Pediatric patients and their caregivers can participate in yoga and other complementary services, such as dance and music therapy.

For children, adolescents, and young adults being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering, our integrative medicine team offers a variety of services to complement traditional medical care, including music therapy, mind/body therapies, dance and movement therapy, yoga, and touch therapy.


Music Therapy

VIDEO | 07:12

Tips on How Music Can Help Manage Emotions

MSK music therapist Holly Mentzer shares a song and explains how listening to or writing music can help regulate your feelings.
Video Details

For children and families who come to our pediatric department as inpatients or outpatients, our music therapists play and teach a variety of instruments to help ease fear and anxiety, enhance creative expression, manage symptoms, and promote relaxation and comfort. Your child is invited to play the instruments, sing songs, participate in story writing through song, or relax and listen to music. Music therapy can be a one-on-one experience in your child’s hospital room or in a group music therapy session.


Mind/Body Therapies

VIDEO | 06:27

Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Yoga therapist, Tina Paul, demonstrates Dirga Pranayama, a three-part breath awareness exercise.
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Children and young adults can learn various relaxation techniques to help them manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Guided imagery, meditation, self-hypnosis, and similar therapies can help:

  • lessen pain, nausea, headaches, and insomnia
  • improve relaxation during procedures, treatments, long hospital stays, or stays requiring a child to remain in isolation
  • manage anxiety, stress, and depression
  • improve eating habits
  • decrease fears, such as anxiousness about needles or claustrophobia
  • increase the ability to cope with changes in body image, such as hair loss
  • enhance overall coping skills

These techniques can also build your child’s self-confidence and empower you with ways to support both your child and yourself during stressful times.


Dance & Movement Therapy

VIDEO | 09:59

The Benefits of Dance for Children with Cancer

Jennifer Whitley, dance movement therapist, demonstrates how dance can be used to improve mood and build strength before cancer surgery.
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Our dance therapists base their work on the principle that the body and mind are interrelated. Their aim is to help children use their bodies — through dance and improvised movements — to express their feelings and experiences. Dance therapists can gain insights into your child’s emotional state by observing his or her movements.

Dance and movement therapy can help your child:

  • manage pain and other symptoms
  • improve self-esteem and body image
  • develop effective communication skills and relationships
  • create new options for coping with problems

Our dance therapists have found that the expressive quality of movement can be a powerful way of supporting children throughout their treatment experience. As an inpatient or outpatient, your child can participate in weekly classes in the pediatric Recreation Center or at the bedside.



VIDEO | 13:43

Need Help Falling Asleep? Try This Yoga Practice

Yoga instructor Clare Patterson shares a yoga method designed to bring on a deep state of rest between consciousness and sleep.
Video Details

Children and young adults at Memorial Sloan Kettering can practice yoga in a group setting or individually at the bedside. Yoga is a gentle exercise that combines movement and simple poses with deep breathing and meditation to promote healing and relaxation as well as a more regular and restful sleep schedule. Our yoga instructors help children explore the poses of yoga through animals and nature, as well as through creative expression.


Touch Therapies

Our massage therapists offer services for patients and their families in the Pediatric Day Hospital or inpatient unit. Touch therapy (or massage therapy) involves manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissues to improve your child’s physical functioning, aid in the healing process, and promote relaxation and well-being.


Touch therapy can help your child:

  • manage pain, muscle tension, postoperative issues, and other musculoskeletal problems
  • improve insomnia and fatigue
  • decrease anxiety, stress, and depression

Our Integrative Medicine Service also offers a free monthly course in the adult Patient Recreation Pavilion called “Touch Therapy for the Caregiver,” in which caregivers are taught appropriate touch therapy techniques they can use with their child.

Watch other videos on how our integrative medicine team can help our patients manage their symptoms and side effects.

Integrative Medicine at MSK Kids
VIDEO | 01:20

Introduction to Integrative Medicine

Nirupa Raghunathan, internist and Director of Pediatric Integrative Medicine at MSK, explains the therapies and services offered to pediatric patients and families.


VIDEO | 03:00

Soothing Your Baby (Part 1)

Senior dance movement therapist Suzi Tortora explains breathing techniques to practice before interacting with your baby.

VIDEO | 08:50

Soothing Your Baby (Part 2)

Senior dance movement therapist Suzi Tortora teaches caregivers ways to soothe their baby by identifying what sensory activities best support the baby.

VIDEO | 08:32

Soothing Your Baby (Part 3)

Senior dance movement therapist Suzi Tortora shares tips on which senses to introduce to your baby and when.

Pain Management

MSK Kids, Pain Management with Rocco Caputo

VIDEO | 00:56

Advice to Get Rid of Headaches

Touch therapist Rocco Caputo shares easy tips to reduce headaches.

Steady Headaches

VIDEO | 01:06

How to Reduce Headaches

Touch therapist Rocco Caputo shares easy tips to say goodbye to headaches.

VIDEO | 03:37

Exercises to Reduce Constipation

Touch therapist Rocco Caputo shows how to alleviate stomach pain.

Assisting Your Child
VIDEO | 01:01

Tips to Help with Constipation

Touch therapist Rocco Caputo shows how to assist your child if they are unable or are too young to exercise their bowels on their own.

Hand Pain
VIDEO | 01:29

Exercises for Hand Pain

Touch therapist Rocco Caputo demonstrates how to reduce and eliminate hand pain.

Foot Pain
VIDEO | 01:22

Movement to Reduce Foot Pain

Touch therapist Rocco Caputo shares exercises to diminish foot pain.


MSK Kids, Yoga for Gut Health with Clare Patterson
VIDEO | 09:45

Yoga Practice for Stomach Pain and Constipation

Clare Patterson, a yoga instructor at MSK Kids, introduces a routine to diminish abdominal pain and discomfort.