How Wellness Benefits Healthcare Teams
- Aroma Therapy
- Health Coaching
- Massage Therapy
“I’ve been on my feet for six hours. My lower back is killing me, and these new Dansko shoes aren’t helping.” -ER Nurse
In traditional Chinese medicine, Qi is an energy that flows through the body along fourteen different channels. Very tiny, hair-fine acupuncture needles are inserted into specific points along the channels to stimulate Qi. The needles usually remain in the skin for less than thirty minutes.
Two main theories seek to explain how acupuncture works. According to conventional medicine, acupuncture stimulates the release of chemicals that dull pain and boost the immune system. And according to Chinese medicine, acupuncture aids in the body’s natural healing abilities by balancing Qi.
Studies suggest that acupuncture can help treat:
- Addiction and depression
- Head, back, and neck pain
- Fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis pain
- Pain from surgery
“It’s incredibly helpful to have wellness services available here at the hospital, where I can easily go during or after a shift.”-Environmental Services Worker
Smell is one of the most important human senses. Smell has a direct correlation to the limbic system in our brain, where emotions and memories are stored. Harnessing the power of smell via aromatherapy has emotional, psychological, and physical benefits.
Essential oils have been around since ancient times, going back to 2,800 BC, as recorded in Egyptian manuscripts. They were used as medicine, in religious ceremonies, for skin care, to cover up foul odors, and to purify the air. The modern history of aromatherapy began with the French chemist, René Maurice Gattefossé. Gattefossé coined the term after an accident in his lab led to the discovery of the healing powers of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Essential oils possess profound therapeutic value to support the human body in functional health-giving ways.
“Aromas are effective even during sleep or unawareness of their presence. Everyone is capable of deriving benefit from aromatherapy” (Aromatherapy for Health Professionals – 4th Ed, S. Price, 2012).
A health coach bridges the gap between information and transformation – inspiring change that is sustainable, with recommendations specific to each person’s needs. Integrative health coaching empowers people to make lasting health behavior changes to support their lifelong well-being.
A health coach engages individuals in their own health choices, resulting in better outcomes. An individualized plan is designed based on participant priorities and vision. Health coaches respect the self-healing capacity of humans and honor the mind-body connection. They can recommend integrative therapies including nutrition counseling, massage, acupuncture, exercise, hypnosis, art, and mindfulness. The non-judgmental coaching partnership complements medical or other treatments already being received from other providers.
Massage therapists rub and knead the body’s soft tissues. Several different types of massage have developed over time around the world. These include Swedish massage (the most popular form in the United States), shiatsu (from Japan), Thai massage and tuina (from China). Massages often occur in a warm, comfortable room and last 55 to 90 minutes.
Massage helps your muscles relax, which in turn reduces stress. It is helpful in treating problems made worse by muscle tension, such as headaches, backaches and insomnia. As muscles are rubbed, blood and oxygen start moving through your body more easily. Patients with serious diseases find that massage helps them relax and feel better.
Studies suggest massage therapy can treat:
- Anxiety and depression
- Back pain
- Knee arthritis
- Neck pain
- Pain from surgery
Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment with curiosity and non-judgement. This technique has been scientifically proven to improve quality of life and happiness. A growing body of research shows how mindfulness contributes to overall well-being by improving people’s immune systems, increasing positive emotions, decreasing stress levels, and bringing a sense of peace.
Undesirable thought patterns often create stress, physically and mentally. By practicing mindfulness, people can stop ruminating about the past or worrying about the future, and be fully present in each moment. A mindfulness practice teaches people to choose quality, intentional thoughts and reduce depression or anxiety: By moving from “fight or flight” mode to “rest and digest.”
Meditation and Resilience Training
Meditation is one way to tap into mindfulness. Suitable practices are available to anyone, and it can be done anywhere, anytime: Standing, sitting, laying down, or while walking alone. Sometimes meditation is guided, includes a mantra, or becomes part of a yoga practice.
Research-based training can also enhance well-being and resiliency to stress, via activities that are readily accessible and easy to put into practice. Stress management techniques can be used daily, with no special equipment, to promote mental health without the use of medication. By building resilience, people are stronger physically, cognitively, spiritually, and emotionally.
One-size-fits all just doesn’t work when it comes to diet and nutrition. Too often, people are told what not to do, instead of getting good information on what they can do. A Master Nutrition Therapist knows how to guide people through the discovery of what will work for them, and develop a practical action plan. Here are just a few of the ways nutrition counseling can optimize health and well-being:
- Preoperative diet optimization and post-op diet (including ostomy diets)
- Weight gain, weight loss, and weight maintenance
- Radiation and chemo side effects (including nausea, constipation and diarrhea)
- Anti-inflammatory diet and cancer risk reduction
- Snack and meal prep
- Mindful eating
- Elimination diets
A yoga practice typically includes three main components: breathing exercises, body poses, and meditation. It can be performed individually or in group classes.
By introducing breathing exercises and meditation, yoga seeks to bring balance between the body and the mind. A simple set of yoga poses will strengthen and stretch all the body’s muscle groups. When practiced regularly, it helps people relax, reduce stress, alleviate back pain, and improve flexibility.
Studies suggest that yoga can help treat:
- Anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chronic low back pain
- High blood pressure
- Symptoms of menopause
Yoga has been shown to improve sleep, mood, and overall quality of life in cancer patients. It also reduces the risk of falls by older people, and improves lung function in people with asthma.
How to Help the People Keeping Colorado Safe
Learn how Progressive Health Center makes wellness accessible and available to Colorado’s essential, front-line healthcare workers. While they protect our community from the Corona virus pandemic, we can help them build resilience and avoid job burnout with Integrative Health therapies.