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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 January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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