Complementary therapies increase patient comfort

Feb 2,2014
Patients who are managing pain — chronic or temporary — have typically relied on medication to bring relief. But Nurse Practitioner Elizabeth Monson of Samaritan Heart & Vascular Institute is showing patients and health care providers new options.

Monson is certified to teach and practice clinical acupressure and Reiki. These techniques are rooted in ancient methods of health and wellness and rely on the body’s own self-healing abilities.

Similar to acupuncture but without the use of needles, acupressure is a non-invasive option in which the practitioner uses her hands to put pressure on specific points on the body to help relieve a variety of symptoms.

“It’s a paradigm shift, identifying techniques that are safe and effective with recognition that healing does not always have to come in the form of a pill,” said Monson.

Steven Anderson of Corvallis was a patient at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center twice for heart episodes and can attest to the relaxation and pain relief acupressure can bring.

Anderson was first introduced to acupressure by Monson during an office visit.

“I had never heard of it,” he said. “But she demonstrated on my wrist and right away I could tell a difference.”

Following an angiogram — recovery can take up to six hours — Anderson received a 15-minute head-to-toe treatment.

“I was pretty uncomfortable and was talking with the nurse, trying to figure out what we could do about the pain when she offered to give me an acupressure treatment,” Anderson said. “I soon dozed off and when I woke up I felt no pain.”

Awaiting surgery before a triple bypass a month later, Anderson was having chest pain while in the hospital. When a nurse offered acupressure, Anderson immediately took her up on it.

“Pain, stress, and anxiety can increase heart rate and blood pressure adversely in cardiac patients,” said Monson. “By offering this option, in addition to traditional methods, we can have a positive impact on heart rate and blood pressure, increase the likelihood that medications will be effective, and decrease the chance of adverse side-effects of medication.”

Anderson, for one, is sold on the technique.

“It made my stay on those two occasions at the hospital so much better in terms of getting through pain and stress,” said Anderson. “The feeling of calm, well-being and relaxation was just amazing.” Find out moreLearn how to apply these techniques on yourself for health and wellness.

Attend one of Samaritan Health Services’ Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies seminars on self-acupressure. Class dates are:

March 11, Corvallis
July 16, Albany
Aug. 13, Corvallis
Aug. 14, Newport
Aug. 19, Lebanon

For more information, visit samhealth.org/BeHealthy, or call toll free, 1-855-873-0647.

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