In 2011, Andrea Mills (formerly Mutascio) was living her dream as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse. However, only a few days after passing her critical care registered nurse exam, she suffered a traumatic brain injury that she says would change her life forever.
“I woke up in a hospital room with no memory of how I arrived there; I was unconscious for 13 hours,” says Mills. “My roommate found me in our home and together we determined that I had accidentally slipped, fell and hit my head several times during my fall, resulting in injuries to my brain.”
After three months, Mills returned to working in the ICU, but frequently experienced headaches, migraines, extreme fatigue and sensitivity to light.
One of her colleagues used an integrative energy therapy called Healing Touch on Mills to help ease her headaches. Healing Touch is used to balance, harmonize and relax the body with the use of gentle touch either on or above the body.
Mill’s colleague recommended that she take level one Healing Touch to learn techniques that would help her on her healing journey and minimize her own symptoms.
Over the next five years, Mills completed training to become a certified Healing Touch practitioner and reiki master. Reiki is a Japanese therapy that involves transferring energy from the palms of a practitioner to a person to help restore their physical and emotional well-being.
Because Mills was able to relieve her symptoms and increase her energy with the help of Healing Touch, she wanted to give that gift to her patients too.
Once she was trained and certified in Healing Touch, she started using the therapy on her patients, with their permission, in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Since implementing this technique, she has helped her patients minimize symptoms and increase relaxation after suffering a life-threatening illness or injury.
“My traumatic brain injury became a blessing in disguise, as I found my true calling in life as a nurse and a healer, along with finding balance and wellness,” says Mills.
Learn more about Healing Touch and other integrative medicine options offered at Sharp HealthCare.