This paper is intended to provide preparation for a level 1 student who will be experiencing a specialty clinical environment in Integrative Therapy, differing from the standard weekly clinical. Herein will be discussed Integrative Therapy and the role a nurse plays in this unique field, the importance of patient education, and an example of specialty therapy: Aromatherapy.
Integrative Therapy synchronizes healing the body in association with healing the mind. Though it is uncommon to think it can be aligned with healthcare, it is possible and applies to the nursing theory.
It is a unique practice that fulfills patient-centered care not only physiologically but psychologically.
Integrative Therapy combines conventional clinical and holistic approaches. This connects the patient’s body, mind, and spirit as a whole, and compliments the healing process in health interventions. According to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH, 2018), integrative health “emphasizes a holistic, patient-focused approach to healthcare and wellness…treating the whole person rather than, for example, one organ systemare.
” This does not neglect biomedical interventions, but rather, incorporates other valuable tools for healing. These tools include essential oils in Aromatherapy, bioenergy of the hands in Healing Touch, deep breathing exercises in Breath Work, specific sound waves and rhythm in Music Therapy, and a heart monitor in Biofeedback to understand an individual’s heart rhythms. These techniques allow the body to reduce stress and increase better health outcomes (Kreitzer & Davidson, 2015).
The nurse’s role in Integrative Therapy is in combining the process of assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation of the results with integrative care.
According to the American Holistic Nurses Association (2019), holistic nurses “remove the barriers to the healing process…[allowing] them to be instruments of healing.” The nurse can apply nursing theories with the core value in mind to why one decided to be a nurse in the first place (Kreitzer & Davidson, 2015). In including integrative care, a patient would be assessed by the nurse for possible advanced options on unique therapies that would be beneficial for the patient’s specific needs. The next step is in nursing diagnosis, which provides applied reasoning as to why the specific therapy will be chosen. In planning to utilize the targeted therapy, the patient and family is educated on the types of Integrative Therapy options and included in the decision-making process. In implementing this form of care, the results would be evaluated and measured to compare the patient’s vitals and status before and after the therapy. Using this nursing process approach will allow for better results that are systematic and not ambiguous. This also promotes trust and a positive environment between the nurse and patient.
The patient’s education about Integrative Therapy is important for awareness of optional methods besides the conventional medication therapy. Integrative Therapies can assist in reducing pain, anxiety, stress, and/or nausea. It is also less invasive, which is a good option for some patients in certain cultures. Integrative therapy applies scientific research, clinical research, and evidence-based practices together with the patient needs in holistic care.
There are a variety of Integrative Therapy specialties. Aromatherapy, as an example, is the use of essential oils (from aromatic plants), which are inhaled through the nose or absorbed in the skin for therapeutic purposes. It stimulates physiological responses in the nervous, endocrine, and/or immune systems, which can affect heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, brain wave activity, and the release of various hormones throughout the body. It is used in a clinical setting for specific outcomes that are measurable on a scale of 0 to 10 to the patient such as stress, pain, anxiety, tension, and nausea.
Integrative Therapy is a unique method and a good addition to the healthcare and nursing process. It integrates and balances the physiology of the body with the psychology and spirituality of the mind. Finally, broadening the patient’s selection of healthcare practices increases their chances of a better outcome through stress-free healing.