I teach nurses and have done so now for the past ten years. I wish I could remember everyone I have taught but I remember quite a few.
I taught Cathy and her class mates a total of four classes, including the very first class and the very last nursing class of the program. I was also happy to teach them Holistic Nursing, my very favorite course...actually my passion.
I remember that Cathy was a nervous wreck, as usual, the day of her presentation, which happened to fall on "Bring Your Child To Work Day".
I confess I did not listen to a word that Cathy said, although to my defense her written outline and references were outstanding and her power point was well prepared. I do know her daughters looked at their Momma with such pride and respect and Ziggy, the loyal and gorgeous doggie, stood at perfect attention while Cathy did her presentation. I know this because I could not keep my moist eyes off this amazing picture...
And now, out of the blue, one of Cathy's daughters remembered me and asked to interview me for a high school paper on Holistic Medicine. I am delighted to have registered in this beautiful young mind. Karlee's questions were thought provoking and I greatly enjoyed the opportunity.
I thought I would take the time to share my responses with you as well. We never know the impressions we make on others... never stop sharing your gifts and your passions with each other, young and old.
Happy and peaceful Easter to you and yours, mar
Hello, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for me. We have met before, but for a brief introduction when you taught my Mom. I am Karlee and I am doing my research paper on holistic medicine. The answers could be as minimal or thorough as you please.
Q: Have you ever experienced any type of bias toward holistic approaches? If so, can you give some examples?
A: Yes. As a nurse and as a teacher of nurses, I have encountered many experiences of bias towards holistic approaches.
A key facet of holistic health is self care. I find in general, as a society, we are quite resistant to caring for ourselves...eating properly, getting enough opportunities for exercise each week, keeping the stress 'down to a low roar', having fun along life's way...! Then one day, we get sick or have a catastrophic accident...and the stress and injury and trauma is even more compounded. If we are fortunate, this happens once...and not to others in our life that we love as well.
Needless to say, those who are resistant or biased towards a holistic lifestyle will have a much harder road to travel. There is no magical pill or surgery for handling life stressors or chronic illness.
Holistic strategies do not replace specific medical treatments when indicated. They are adjunctive. They are complementary. They are natural. They are harmless. As my Mother would have said: "They can't hurt." And in so many cases, they indeed help, improve...
I can think of so many example so I shall limit to two:
I once taught a male nurse who argued vehemently that he would never be a holistic nurse. He thought it was "ridiculous and demeaning". Throughout the 5-week class, I saw a compassionate man reveal many therapeutic interactions and a gifted use of humor with oncology patients. In his evaluation, he apologized to me saying he would not have wanted to teach himself. I have used this nurse countless times in my classroom as an example of the kind of nurse I want to care for me, whether he considers himself holistic or not.
I once cared for an elderly diabetic patient in the community who resisted taking insulin. Although the idea of holistic nutrition was akin to worship of the devil, she was willing to introduce cinnamon to her diet every day. It actually worked to the point that she didn't need medicine. That was a beautiful mind - body - spirit connection!
Q: Do you yourself practice holism? If so, in what ways?
A: Yes. I am fortunate to teach Holistic Health so I am always keeping current in the latest literature and research, along with my nursing students.
I believe in "practicing what I preach" so I am an avid believer in self care. I think that stress is constantly trying to invade my / our life / lives. Much of my self care focuses on decreasing my stress and focusing on the positive elements in my life.
I use holistic nutrition, music, aroma therapy, journaling / creative writing, walking (with my 'Baby'/ pet therapy), and water therapy (as much as I can/ weather permitting). Cognitive therapy and imagery are two strategies I call upon when feeling especially negative or stressed.
Q: Which, out of all holistic practices, do you consider to be the most effective?
A: Without a doubt, guided imagery... This sounds complex? From children in abusive situations to soldiers in combat to any one of us being inconvenienced while sitting in rush hour traffic, we all have the power to take our minds to a happy, peaceful place... for as long as we need to. Our mind - body - spirit connection allows us to get through the horrors / traumas / inconveniences of the present as we place our minds and our senses into an environment that we create, free of harm...beautiful, tranquil and healing. This is a practice that is life saving. And with or without training, it can kick in... I know, it happened to me.
Q: Do you feel that the public accepts holistic approaches for its deserved values?
A: A: For the most part, yes. I have taught 'Holistic Health' to nurses for the past 10 years. I have asked them if they consider themselves 'Holistic Nurses' both at the beginning and at the end of the class. Most nurses do not realize they have been practicing holistic strategies of communication, presence, touch and authenticity throughout their practice...
With similar awareness, we are all capable of applying holistic strategies to our daily lives. It helps when our nurses accept and introduce holistic practices to us, whether at the physician's office or in casual conversations.
Q: Is getting people to understand the aspects of holism difficult due to bias perceptions?
A: With a respectful and open - minded approach, most people are receptive to at least learning about holistic strategies. Initially some folks generalize holism as 'voodoo' and need an overview of the mind - body - spirit connection to get past that mindset.
Q: Do you consider holistic approaches traditional or modern?
A: I believe that most holistic approaches originate from our traditional roots ...as far back as Buddha in practices like Reiki and Florence Nightengale in basic principles of a therapeutic environment and the healing powers of touch. There have been modern variations through the years, such as Zumba.
Q: Do you consider holistic approaches strictly scientific, philosophical or both?
A: My instant association with holism is the mind - body - spirit connection. As such, my answer to this question is 'both'. That being said, a fair amount of holistic research and literature tends to be qualitative / descriptive (philosophical) versus quantitative / measurable (scientific).
Q: Do you believe that holistic treatments should be offered to the public in greater ways, such as through health care?
A: Absolutely. In no way am I saying that holistic treatments will totally take the place of conventional (allopathic) therapies. However, as complementary approaches, holistic treatments are of essential benefit in all stages of preventive health care.
In primary prevention, we are keeping as healthy as possible. Holistic nutrition, a regular exercise program and being conscious of our stress levels are key. After diagnosis, in tertiary care,ideally an individualized treatment program will be developed balancing holistic and medical approaches. Yoga classes need to be given the same credibility as a medication prescription in the eyes of insurance companies.
Q: Who are the most frequent users of holistic practices?
A: I am very open minded with the answering of this question and I think the great majority of us are frequent users of holistic practices. Now I believe the "face" of these practices looks as different as we all do...
I take a walk on a Farm Park Road which I consider a holistic practice. On that walk, I might encounter: a young mother biking with her baby in a basket; a male jogger going up a hill at a pretty good clip; an elderly Chinese woman picking dandelions in the field with her grandchild; a middle aged couple walking their dog; two older buddies fishing in the pond; and a team of youngsters playing softball in the field.
I am not sure that one of those people would identify themselves as holistic. I don't know that it matters. Mind you, it's OK if they do (LOL)! I think we all need to encourage the activity, the joy, the actual living of it all...
Q: What do you believe are good ways to expand holistic accessibility to the public?
A: I believe the first step to any expansion is awareness. I think it is awesome that you are exploring this issue in high school. I think our youth has an amazing power base to influence general awareness of the benefits of holistic health.
You are our future. You all have a long road ahead. You need to keep healthy and this is a challenge in today's world. If there are natural ways to keep ourselves feeling better and living longer, then we all need to be on board with this...including our politicians and legislators.
Q: What impact would allowing holistic approaches have on society if they were to be furthered?
A: This question invites me to look at a much bigger picture ... when we start to examine ourselves and how 'we' can be healthier, more natural, more centered..., I think about the 'green issues' that the Baby Boomer generation has mostly created for you: the GMO food takeover ; the recycle cycle; the ozone layer breakdown to name a few...
If you would like to leave any personal comments on holistic medicine that was not established in a question, feel free to leave them. Thank you again for taking the time to answer these questions for me. It is greatly appreciated!
When we take responsibility for our self care, we start to see the need to care for our Mother (Earth).
Every action, no matter how small makes a difference. Think globally, act locally...
Thanks for asking me these thought provoking questions. I will be happy to clarify/ assist you further in the future. All the best in your studies! Maria
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