Integrative Therapies are used as a total approach to care which involve a person’s mind, body, and spirit. They combine conventional medicine with complementary therapies to provide comfort and possibly enhance the quality of life during a person’s dying trajectory. They can also provide many benefits to those companioning someone during the dying process and those who are experiencing grief. The boundaries between integrative and conventional medicine overlap and change with time. For example, guided imagery and massage, both once considered complementary, are used regularly in some health care facilities and hospices to help with pain management.
Can relive muscle tension, assist in pain relief and provide an overall sense of relaxation. Touch reinforces the wholeness of the individual, regardless of what may be happening to his or her body and mind. The physical connection reassures the person that he or she is not alone, and it provides an opportunity for self-expression. The right touch at the right moment can be far more effective than words in acknowledging a person’s suffering, and offering comfort and support. Touch may even become the primary means of communication at such a turning point.
Is an ancient therapeutic technique considered to be one of the oldest forms of treatment known to man. Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues of the body to gain a therapeutic effect. Soft tissues include muscles, skin, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and membranes. Therapeutic massage is well known for its ability to relieve pain, improve circulation and induce a relaxation response.
Reflexology is the application of light pressure on specific points of the hands and feet that provide a healing effect on corresponding organs, glands, and other parts of the body. Most sessions have a relaxing, calming effect and provide physical relief.
The practice of placing hands lightly on or just above the person’s body, palms down, using a series of different hand positions. Reiki can be practiced by oneself, or can be received from someone else.
Therapeutic Lymphatic Care (TLC)
Manual Lymph Drainage(MLD)/Combined Decongestive Therapy(CDT) is a gentle rhythmic massage-like movement that not only increases lymph flow but also has a pain relieving effect.
It is a non-invasive therapy that works with the natural energy system of the body using practice of moving hands in smooth rhythmic motions within a few inches of the body. Therapeutic Touch aims to re-pattern the body’s energy field.
Acupuncture and Acupressure
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very small needles into certain points of the body; acupressure involves these same points, but uses only pressure rather than needles. Both types of procedure may be helpful for some people in treating pain, promoting relaxation and relieving tension.
Expressive Arts Therapy
The expressive arts combine the visual arts, movement, drama, music, writing and other creative processes to foster deep personal growth. A person is not required to have artistic ability to use or benefit from expressive arts therapy. One of the keys to their effectiveness is that the arts provide a non-threatening opportunity to express feelings that are often too painful for words.
The role of music therapy in the dying trajectory is to provide opportunities to explore music and its influences which may lessen the physical, emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual challenges. Music is a powerful catalyst that can evoke memories, influence moods, and stimulate the senses. Through music we can sensitively tune into the experience of dying as it is being lived by each individual and their loved ones. Certain music can provide the opportunity to express a person’s individuality, and the “music history” of any person can be a way of reviewing special events in one’s life.
Art as therapy can be used in the dying trajectory as a tool to improve one’s emotional state or mental well-being.. It can be used to relieve stress or tension, or it can be used as a mode of self-discovery. Art therapists are trained to pick up on nonverbal symbols and metaphors that are often expressed through art and the creative process, concepts that are usually difficult to express with words.
Guided Imagery and Meditation
Meditation is the on-going process of clearing the mind of distractions to try an experience a sense of inner peace. The process is incredibly personal and will change for each person based on their personal notions of meditation. The goal of meditation is to focus and quiet your mind, eventually reaching a higher level of awareness and inner calm. You can meditate anywhere and at any time. Meditation is a simple and transformational skill that can help you to reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and enhance understanding about yourself. In the dying trajectory it can be used to manage symptoms associated with the dying trajectory.