Treating the whole person

Integrative medicine focuses on mind, body and spirit

Integrative medicine focuses on mind, body and spirit

Many physicians and medical practitioners are taking a new approach to treating patients – through integrative medicine. Integrative medicine is a collective term for a variety of healing-oriented treatments focused on the entire person with a realization that mind, body, spirit and community can all affect a person’s recovery and well-being.

Integrative medicine modalities are diverse and can include aromatherapy to pet therapy, nutritional counseling to yoga and more. They are also proving to be effective with studies showing a reduction in symptoms such as pain, insomnia, anxiety and nausea when integrative medicine is incorporated into a patient’s treatment regimen. This translates to a need for fewer medications, shorter hospital stays and greater patient satisfaction.

While integrative therapy is still a relatively new field, Norton Healthcare is embracing it and the effect it has on patients with integrative therapies now being offered at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital

“An integrative medicine committee at Norton Healthcare has been working for the past several years to bring more holistic care to patients, the community and Norton Healthcare employees,” said Rachel Busse, M.D., director of Integrative Medicine for Norton Healthcare.

Integrative therapies are based on availability. Services offered at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital include:

Aromatherapy: Essential oils and other aromatic compounds are used to improve mood or sense of well-being. Oils may be inhaled for brain stimulation or congestion relief, or the oils in a diluted form may be applied to the skin using touch therapies.

Massage therapy: Hands-on work helps reduce muscle tension, pain and anxiety.

Reiki (energy therapy): A Japanese healing technique, Reiki promotes stress reduction, healing and relaxation through the transfer of energy. The Reiki practitioner does not have to physically touch the patient to transfer energy.

Spiritual care: Chaplains and other medical staff support patients and families with spiritual issues that may arise during times of illness. Spiritual care includes support for coping with feelings of powerlessness, pain, loneliness and isolation as well as an understanding of the patient’s current situation.

“I think the experience of being a patient needs to become more about being a human,” Dr. Busse said. “When we offer a more holistic approach to health and healing, it really is meaningful to patients.”


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