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Offering integrative healing therapies at the bedside

By The Health News Team | June 22, 2023
Hand massage therapy

Feelings of anxiety and stress are not uncommon for hospital patients. Integrative therapies, such as massage or aromatherapy, can help. Sharp offers a variety of integrative therapies right at the bedside, helping ease patients’ discomfort throughout their stay.

According to Lisa Goodman, Sharp Grossmont Hospital's integrative healing coordinator, integrative therapy is a relaxation tool that use techniques to support a person in a moment of distress. A nurse, doctor, friend or family member can identify when a hospital patient might benefit from such therapies and can request a consultation with Goodman and her colleagues.

“When some people hear about integrative healing, they might have a predetermined mindset of what it is,” says Goodman. “Often, people shy away from accepting these unique healing methods because of something they’ve heard or the things they have read. However, these therapies offered to the patient at the bedside are simple, noninvasive ways to receive comfort during stressful times.”

Types of integrative healing treatments

Sharp’s hospitals, including Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Sharp Memorial Hospital, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, Sharp Coronado Hospital, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns,Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, and the Sharp McDonald Center offer integrative therapies to patients. Each session lasts 15 to 30 minutes and treatments include:

Healing touch

During this energy-based therapeutic approach to healing, practitioners use gentle touch to restore harmony and balance in a patient’s energy system and help promote healing.


A Japanese energy healing technique, reiki promotes relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety through gentle touch.

Hand massage

This practice focuses on putting pressure on various reflex points around the hand muscles to promote health and well-being, and enhance the body's own restorative powers.


During this treatment that uses essential aromatic oils for therapeutic benefits, aroma sticks are given to the patient to hold under their nose to smell, which can produce a calming effect.

Sound healing

This therapy utilizes a person’s sense of hearing, during which the practitioner plays crystal sound bowls and chimes to balance and heal the body, mind and spirit.

Guided imagery meditation

During this meditation, the clinician walks the patient through guided visualization using their different senses. The patient communicates what they are visualizing in order to redirect their thoughts to a better mental space.

Gentle breathing meditation

This practice focuses on breathing as a person inhales through the nose and exhales through the mouth to calm themselves in times of anxiety and stress.


Journaling is a written record of our thoughts and feelings. It is a vehicle of emotional exploration — a way to channel difficult feelings and create healthy and inspired outcomes.

Benefits of integrative healing therapies

Each integrative healing therapy has different benefits. According to Goodman, the three most important are increasing the chance of sleep and decreasing pain and anxiety.

“Sleep plays a significant role in the healing process," says Goodman. “The body does most of its healing when it is at complete rest.”

If the mind is anxious and the body is in pain, Goodman says, it cannot focus on healing. Lowering stress levels and bringing someone’s mind and body to a place of peace and calm will help when it is stressed and overworked.

“Patients who are worried about a pending diagnosis, their families or many other things can ease their minds by participating in the various integrative healing therapies,” Goodman says. “For me, providing these healing therapies allows me to give people some form of hope and a feeling of being loved and cared for during a very difficult time.”

Learn more about integrative therapies at Sharp; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.

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