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5 Holistic Pain Relief Therapies for Palliative Care Patients

5 Holistic Pain Relief Therapies for Palliative Care Patients

Palliative care is care that provides pain relief, and is used with curative measures, but does not act towards a cure on its own. In other words, it helps make patients more comfortable as they struggle against serious illnesses.

Best practice in medicine suggests that patients undergoing palliative care benefit most from a holistic approach. Holistic approaches include physical, psychological, and spiritual comfort.

As a result, therapies that help patients can be provided not only by doctors and nurses but also by counselors, therapists, massage therapists, or even family and friends of the patient. These actors can provide complementary pain relief therapies, which are able to help reduce pain and improve quality of life, and support the patient as a whole.

1. Music Therapy

Music therapists use music to help patients advance their health goals. Some therapists prescribe this therapy for those looking to relieve pain.

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Several studies have shown that listening to music can improve patients’ quality of life. Participants in these studies also showed small physical improvements, like improved respiratory rates, blood pressure, or heart rate.

2. Massage Therapy

Massage has health benefits for everyone. But, it is particularly useful for providing pain relief to palliative care patients.

Massage therapists who work with palliative care patients are trained to relieve pain through light touches rather than deep tissue work. The therapy works by providing comfort and soothing anxiety to patients. It can also help patients who have kinks and knots that come with lying down for most of the day.

Massage therapy is one of the most common complementary therapies. But, it should always be performed by therapists who are knowledgeable about working with these patients. Massage can have contraindications with certain pharmacological therapies. Understanding the patient’s other course of treatment is essential for using massage to heal, not hurt.

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3. Pet Therapy

Animal therapy is frequently used in hospital settings to improve quality of life, and provide pain relief. Several studies show that spending time with a cuddly animal can lower your blood pressure, stabilize your heart rate, and reduce anxiety. Additionally, relationships between therapy animals and patients can provide pain relief with a simple cuddle.

Although the benefits of pet therapy are only in the early stages of being understood, it is clear that human-animal interactions help patients undergoing care feel less isolated.

4. Therapeutic Touch

Therapeutic Touch is a practice taught to specialists and many nurses. It is another a way of using your hands to help patients deal with their pain or heal from their disease.

Therapeutic Touch is different to other touch therapies like massage therapy. The basic premise is that humans are open energy systems. This system is constantly interacting with itself, other people, and the environment.

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Because illness creates imbalances in this energy, patients need to re-balance their energy to feel relief.

Therapeutic Touch helps do this by using healing energy to interact with a patient’s energy. The practitioner then direct the energy to create stir up relief from symptoms like pain.

5. Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been used to provide pain relief and relieve symptoms of disease from thousands of years. As early as 1854, the US Dispensary listed that the plant offered therapeutic effects on patients, and could even relieve inflammation, spasms, and nausea. Some of the most recent standardized controls have found that it has modest but positive effects on helping people with cancer, HIV, capsaicin, MS, and intraocular pressure relive their pain.

Medicinal marijuana is only available for patients residing in a few states via dispensaries. But, this is likely to change soon.

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The Institute of Medicine, the American College of Physicians, and the American Medical Association are all in favor of more research dedicated to understanding exactly how it affects patients, and what kind of relief it may bring.

Palliative care is an individualized form of care, and the experience is different for everyone. Creating the holistic approach to this kind of care requires nurturing the patient’s body, mind, and spirit. Pharmacological treatments cannot due this alone.

These 5 alternative therapies have the ability to work in tandem with a patient’s care plan to help relieve pain, and boost their quality of life while undergoing treatment.

Featured photo credit: WRAMTAS via wramtas.org

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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