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  • Writer's pictureCynthia Chin-Lee

Free Services for Cancer Patients at Stanford

Updated: Feb 22

Photo of Stanford University
Palm trees and Spanish architecture at Stanford University

Covid-19 did NOT bring many good things to us, but one thing it did give us was remote work and services. Even if you don’t live near Stanford University in the San Francisco Bay area (I do) and even if you don’t get your medical care at Stanford (I don’t), you can take advantage of the cancer wellness classes they offer. There may be a cancer community non-profit near you with similar offerings, and my medical clinic at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) provides many classes and support groups, too. 

logo of Stanford Medicine
Logo of Stanford Medicine

However, I have to give a shout out to Stanford as they have quite a line up of services, all free to cancer patients. For example, In the mind-body wellness category, they offer:

  • Mindfulness and mindful meditation (3 different times). Learn and practice breathing and self-compassion.

  • Qi Gong (chee gong) for vitality. Use breathing, posture, and energy flow to increase your well-being.

  • Restorative yoga. Stretch for relaxation.

  • Tai chi. Build balance, coordination and flexibility. Classes taught in Chinese and English.

Remote online classes seem appropriate for classes on nutrition, exercise, and meditation, all of which I’ve participated in. But one offering Healing Touch, now called Energy Therapy, at first glance does not seem to make sense as a remote service. 

I suppose the renaming of “healing touch” to “energy therapy” helps to clarify what is happening. Many years ago and long before Covid-19, my husband and I took Reiki or healing touch classes as guinea pigs (test subjects) for a PhD candidate who was researching Reiki and its effectiveness for parenting. At these in-person classes, we learned about energy transfer using the hands specifically and we also studied the energy centers of the body, called chakras. This experience made me more positive about signing up for energy therapy sessions at Stanford.

Picture of the seven chakras in the body
The seven energy centers, known as chakras

According to my healing touch practitioner (who can be contacted at, we have 7 major energy centers. Each energy center is like a sphere spinning in the middle of your body and these energy centers need to be kept open or unblocked to do their job of generating vital life force.

  • The red root chakra at the bottom of our spine

  • The orange sacral chakra about two inches below our navel

  • The yellow solar plexus chakra in the stomach area

  • The green heart chakra in your chest

  • The blue throat chakra

  • The indigo (or purple) third eye chakra between your eyebrows

  • The white (or pink) crown chakra a few inches above the center of your head

If you’ve ever taken yoga, your teacher may have taught you about the chakras. I took two types of yoga even before I had my cancer diagnosis so I’m not entirely new to this. However, I will tell you that I was skeptical about doing healing touch remotely. My practitioner was in San Jose and I live on the San Mateo coast, a solid hour’s drive away. She met with me by online video service the first time so we could “see” each other. After that, she’d just call me and we’d chat a bit and then she would balance my chakras for the next 45 minutes or so. While she was working on balancing my chakras, I was free to do whatever I wanted. That could be meditating or putzing around my garden.

After 45 minutes, we’d talk on the phone again. And she would always ask me, “Did you feel anything?” And somewhat embarrassed by my lack of perception, I’d invariably say “No.” But it didn’t matter and she’d give me a report on the state of my chakras. For example, my root chakra was very weak or my crown chakra was off kilter. She’d give me “homework” to chant every day to get my chakras stronger. I’d faithfully do the chanting to the YouTube video. I eventually noticed if I did my chanting around bedtime that I slept more easily so it’s now part of my bedtime routine. Note that I have felt my chakras activated before but that’s a topic for another post!

I asked my practitioner how she balanced my chakras or how she knew what they were doing and she answered mysteriously that she was an “intuitive healer.” And given how she could “read” me, my moods, and my energy, I accepted that. Stanford limits the energy therapy sessions to 8 per person per year. I wanted a few more sessions so I paid for them out of pocket.

A few new offerings at Stanford in Feb. 2024 are:

  • Sound Bath for Breast Cancer (in person)

  • Sound Bath (online)

  • Self-Massage for Relaxation (online)

Eager to try new things, I’ve signed up for the online Sound Bath class and Self-Massage for Relaxation. 

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