Until recently, 13-year-old Deanna was living in constant pain from chronic migraines. But last year at Children’s National, Deanna began receiving a new form of integrative medicine called Healing Touch to help ease her pain, and the results have been transformative. “After every session, she comes away relaxed but also energized, said Shelle, Deanna’s mother. “There is a peace around her like ‘I can do this.’ It really is the highlight of her week – and mine, too.”
Supported through philanthropy, Healing Touch is a holistic therapy in which practitioners consciously direct energy into the patient’s body by using a very light or close-to-skin “touch” that promotes health and healing. Seeing the positive impacts of this therapy firsthand have caused nurses like Elizabeth Bettini, APRN, to expand their views of healing. “Healing Touch has given me an ability to provide better care to my patients and their families,” Bettini said, “but it has also given me a greater understanding of the human spirit as it relates to achieving maximal health despite chronic illness and high symptom burden.”
There are three nurses at Children’s National who are trained in Healing Touch, bringing an alternative to conventional medicine to patients in the pain clinic, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), neurology, hematology and oncology, and general pediatric units. But demand for the therapy has increased significantly throughout the hospital. Over the past year, the nurses have conducted more than 60 sessions with 30 patients. Caregivers have begun to integrate Healing Touch into their overall treatment plans, and parents have begun receiving the therapy to help ease the debilitating stress of seeing their kids sick.
“Is this how my son feels when you do Healing Touch on him?” asked a parent of a child at Children’s National after receiving Healing Touch. “All I can say is thank you.”
For more information on how you can support the Healing Touch program so more children can benefit, contact Vikki Ismael by email or 301-565-8562.