Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 | 7:37 p.m.
The Caring Place, a cancer support center that opened in February 2008, is out educating the public about its free services. The Caring Place is a facility dedicated to healing the mind, body and soul of those directly or indirectly touched by cancer.
The center is at 4425 S. Jones Blvd. near the intersection of Jones Boulevard and Flamingo Road and provides a wide variety of therapy classes including yoga, meditation, Pilates and tai chi.
Family and friends of cancer patients are encouraged to join the sessions, and the best part, said program manager Beth Lane, is that all the services are provided at no charge.
"Everything is absolutely free for anyone who comes through the door," Lane said during a November "Lunch and Learn'' program at Southern Hills Hospital. "All of our therapists, practitioners and instructors are volunteers."
Las Vegas resident Connie Bernstein, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in 2004, founded the Caring Place with oncologist Dr. Mary Ann Allison.
After she tried unique therapies such as meditation and yoga on top of chemotherapy, Bernstein's cancer has been in remission for two years. Her experiences also rekindled a desire in Allison to create an oasis for people whose lives are being affected by cancer.
"We do not take any government funding," Lane said. "All our funds come from private donations and fundraising events."
Bernstein's husband, boxing analyst Al Bernstein, has helped with networking and fundraising efforts for the center.
One of the most popular forms of therapy at The Caring Place has been Reiki, a form of healing in which "universal life force energy" is transferred from the palms of a Reiki therapist into the body of a patient to enhance physical and mental well being.
"It might sound odd, but it's tremendously helpful," Lane said. "We've had a lot of success with people going through chemotherapy. The nausea and aches go away."
The center also offers massages and reflexology therapy, which involves triggering pressure points on the bottom of the feet that correspond to different organs throughout the body.
Art therapy classes are also available, which provide a chance for patients and their families to open up and talk about cancer in a comfortable and relaxing setting.
"It's a unique place that transforms people," Lane said. "When many of them come in they are depressed and skeptical. But they leave with a big smile on their face and they keep coming back."
The Caring Place is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information or to register for classes, call 871-7333 or visit www.thecaringplacenv.org.
Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or [email protected].