As nurses face the challenge of treating patients who have limited solutions to their health problems, more options are needed to relieve pain, stress, and psychosocial health. A large concentration has been placed on food, teas, and essential oils. Whether certified in holistic care or not, many nurses are turning to these holistic methods to help patients cope with a number of physical and psychological challenges.
Modern medicine has a deep reliance on the cause of an illness and treating symptoms. Holistic healing methods, on the other hand, treat the patient as a whole – looking beyond particular symptoms to address issues that may not necessarily show up in blood work or lab results. For example, after a serious car crash, a patient may completely heal from physical wounds but still experience trauma that impairs their psychosocial health and causes situational stress. Holistic treatment can be used to help relieve tension and fears that remain following a traumatic situation.
What Is Holistic Nursing?
A holistic nurse is a licensed nurse who treats patients based on a “mind-body-spirit-emotion-environment” approach. While using traditional medical methods, a holistic nurse also considers how a patient’s relationships, interconnectedness, and self-care affect a person’s well-being. A holistic healing approach integrates spirituality, self-ownership, and reflection to help patients overcome physical or perceived symptoms of an illness.
Three treatment methods of holistic nursing continue to grow in popularity in the U.S. and beyond.
Treatment through aromatherapy and essential oils is being embraced by more people. The essential oil market is predicted to grow to $11.67 billion by 2022.
Essential oils are being doted for their abilities to treat ailments like a sore throat, earache, and constipation. Herbs like lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus are expanding in holistic treatment and often used to relieve stress and promote better sleep. Some claim the combination of peppermint and lavender can reduce migraine pain. Eucalyptus can be infused in a hot, steamy shower to reduce coughing or sinusitis.
The benefits of water are documented throughout history, so the use of aquatic therapy to treat pain, swelling and anxiety is nothing new to holistic nurses. It’s also believed hydrotherapy can strengthen a patient’s immune system. Holistic treatment with water is proven to help control pain, particular for burn patients.
Aquatic therapy is now growing in popularity among senior living facilities for treatment of joint pain, edema, and serious physical impairments.
Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, just without the needles. The sense of touch is used in many healing treatments. Acupressure utilizes concentrated force from the holistic nurse’s hands, fingers and elbows to activate acupoints in the patient’s body.
A study conducted by physicians from the Institute of Clinical Nursing, National Yang‐Ming University found that the use of acupressure and acupuncture the first day after a patient’s surgery helped prevent nausea and vomiting in post‐operative patients.
Holistic healing methods are becoming more mainstream and as a result, nursing schools across the nation are incorporating holistic medicine into the classrooms. A nurse becomes Holistic Nurse Board Certified after working full time as a nurse for one year, achieving 48 continued nursing education hours in Holistic Nursing Theory, research, practice, or related topics, and passing an exam administered by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC).