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Massage and reflexology are two relaxing modalities used at Nathan Adelson Hospice but not too many people know the difference. The easiest way to explain it is that massage therapists work the musculature of the body and can work all over. For our hospice patients, they use long, slow strokes with light pressure whenever that’s possible. If necessary, they can adjust the stroke for specific areas as requested. For example, perhaps the patient has a PICC line on the arm that’s aching or a dressing on tense shoulders. Neither of those things would prevent the therapist from working to help you; they would only cause her to adjust her methods.
By Lisa M. Browder
A good therapy dog has extensive obedience training, loves strangers, can focus on the job at hand even if other dogs are present, is comfortable being touched or hugged by a frail population (or even a patient’s children or grandchildren), and is able to deal with stressful situations in a calm manner. Sometimes that may mean that the handler should wait until the dog is a little older but that is something that an observant handler will know while training the animal. Is he prone to jumping up on people, pawing at them, licking them? Those are undesirable traits that are more commonly seen in younger dogs.
By Lisa M. Browder
Soothing music is always welcome in the hospice environment. It has the capacity to reduce physical symptoms of pain and agitation, and alleviate feelings of fear, anxiety and loneliness. This can add immensely to a patient’s quality of life and a family’s impressions of a “good” hospice experience.
Hospice work is most assuredly fulfilling but it can at times also be exhausting. We’re in a profession where people constantly tell us to take care of ourselves – get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of water, try meditation at the end of the day, eat right. All of these things are meant to help us replenish and restore balance in our lives, as well as our emotions and our spirits. We deal with very raw emotions of patients and families on a daily basis and that can take a toll if we don’t allow some time for ourselves.
Spikenard essential oil comes from the Valerianaceae family, the same one from which we get Valerian. Both have calming and sedative properties and Spikenard is also anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, deodorant, fungicidal, laxative, sedative and tonic. It is known to be non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing.
Steam distilled from a grass, the finest quality Vetiver is called Bourbon vetiver and it originates from the Reunion Islands. However, it is also grown in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Java, the Seychelles, Brazil, Haiti, Japan and India, where it is called the Oil of Tranquility. That should give you an indication of how it is most often used in aromatherapy and perfumery.