Opening up new possibilities in whole-person care

Patients now have new options open to them in their health care experience. However, these options are not traditional forms of medicine. They are not pharmaceuticals or exercise regimens or surgical approaches.

With the conversion of Norton Suburban Hospital to Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital in St. Matthews, patients now have new options open to them in  their health care experience. However, these options are not traditional forms of medicine. They are not pharmaceuticals or exercise regimens or surgical approaches. They are part of a new side of health care, a side that continues to emerge and grow.

They are called integrative therapies, and they focus on healing not just the body, but also the spirit and the mind.

Integrative therapies are used in conjunction with medical therapy to heal not just the physical aspects of an illness or injury but the emotional and spiritual aspects as well. This includes using methods such as relaxation techniques, massage therapy, Reiki, aromatherapy, music therapy and others.

Rachel Busse, M.D., director of Integrative Medicine at Norton Healthcare, said, “An integrative medicine committee at Norton Healthcare has been working for the past several years to bring more holistic care to patients, the community and Norton employees.”

These therapies are now available at the new hospital.

“The integrative therapies are available on the 5 east tower unit, the fifth floor of the newly constructed tower, which includes oncology, headache and gynecologic surgery patients,” Dr. Busse said. “The nurse navigators on the floor help coordinate these services. There is also a walking labyrinth available to patients on this new unit.”

Molly Eiche, a child life therapist on the St. Matthews campus, is a Reiki practitioner. She has been trained in one of the techniques available in the new hospital and frequently uses it to relax and calm the doctors and nurses with whom she works.

She describes Reiki as a Japanese healing technique that promotes wellness and balance in the mind, body and soul. It is administered through light touch and can be performed without any touch at all. This makes it a powerful healing method for patients who are not comfortable with being touched or are in too much pain to be touched.

Eiche also offers Reiki to co-workers.

“A lot of doctors and nurses give so much to patients and families, sometimes they forget to give it back to themselves,” she said.

Learn more about the healing power of integrative medicine

Go Confidently: A Conversation With Mimi Guarneri, M.D.

Dr. Guarneri, founder and medical director of Guarneri Integrative Health at Pacific Pearl in La Jolla, California, will explore the relationship of heart and soul through poignant stories from patients who have benefited from integrative therapies.

To register for this free event, visit

Dec. 9, 2014

6 to 8 p.m.

The Olmsted.

3701 Frankfort Ave.

“After working a long shift, I am amazed by how refreshed and rejuvenated I feel after receiving Reiki,” said one of Eiche’s co-workers. “I feel balanced and pampered.”

Eiche feels that when applied to patients, Reiki could have a similarly powerful effect.

“Reiki is beneficial to anyone dealing with illness, pain, anxiety or simply the stress from everyday life,” she said. “My hope is that Reiki will provide a new experience for patients within the walls of our hospital that will continue to impact healing even after they are discharged.”

Dr. Busse describes the powerful effect integrative therapy can have on patients.

“Some studies have demonstrated a reduction in symptoms such as pain, insomnia, anxiety and nausea using modalities such as the ones we’ve chosen,” she said. “This can also translate into fewer medications and a shorter hospital stay. Patients generally are more satisfied with their hospital experience as well.”

While integrative therapy is still a relatively new field, Norton Healthcare is embracing it and the effect it has on patients. Dr. Busse said that Norton Healthcare’s program has grown immensely in the past few years.

“I think the experience of being a patient needs to become more about being a human. When we offer a more holistic approach to health and healing, it really is meaningful,” she said.

Integrative therapies available at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Art therapy
  • Child life therapy
  • Jin Shin Jyutsu
  • Massage therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Pet therapy
  • Reiki
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Spiritual care


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