by Vicky Grossman, NCTM, Penny George Institute for Health and Healing
I work for the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing as an integrative health practitioner at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Certified in massage therapy, I offer hospitalized patients massage therapy , aromatherapy, reflexology, relaxation techniques, guided imagery, and energy work such as healing touch or Reiki,.
I am at times struck by how these therapies and approaches help different people heal in different, and sometimes powerful, ways. One moment like this occurred with a patient who was hospitalized with a form of an inflammatory bowel disease.
The patient, who ultimately needed surgery, experienced a great deal of pain and anxiety prior to that. I treated this patient several times. Our first encounter included reflexology, using pressure points and massage on the feet, and aromatherapy. I used the essential oil sweet marjoram to address the pain.
The patient’s response to the inhalation of sweet marjoram was nothing less than an amazing surprise, even to me! The patient enjoyed the scent immensely and found it not only helped with the pain, but also with the anxiety. Following these treatments, the pain was reduced, and the anxiety dropped to almost nothing.
At one point, the patient was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in an emergent situation. While there, the patient was sedated and not particularly interactive. When I visited the ICU, I left sweet marjoram with a family member of the patient to use once the patient became more alert.
I was told that periodically the patient’s blood pressure or respiration would become elevated, and the patient’s family member would administer the sweet marjoram for inhalation. He was astounded at how the blood pressure and respiration would return to a normal range.
I feel honored to treat patients with what can be a powerful combination of healing therapies and approaches. There is such great potential for gain in using these non-invasive, non-pharmacological approaches to pain managment, anxiety and healing.
If you want to learn more about integrative health approaches to help with pain, stress management, cancer care, or even just health and wellness improvement, visit the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing Web site. If pain is an issue for you, visit our online pain education tool, which introduces integrative approaches for pain management.