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Natural Awakenings Indianapolis

St. Vincent Women's Hospital Embraces Integrative Therapy: Caring for the whole person — mind, body and spirit.

May 04, 2011 11:21PM ● By Beth Davis

The concept of integrative therapy is not new, but it is certainly one that is being embraced by more conventional medical practices and facilities. One shining example is St. Vincent Women’s Hospital in Indianapolis. Here, caring for the whole person—mind, body and spirit—is the primary goal. With that in mind, patients are offered integrative therapy as part of the healing and recovery process.   

According to the Clinical Supervisor, Kathy Ryan, RNC, MNN, the hospital offers 185 in-patient beds, a medical/surgical unit, a newborn intensive care unit (NICU) and a high-risk obstetrics unit—all of which are dedicated to patient-centered care.

Ryan says whether a patient is going into labor, is post delivery, or recovering from a surgery, nurses offer a combination of integrative therapies designed to re-energize, relieve stress and help the patients heal more quickly. Nurses have been trained in various techniques including the “M” technique for hands and feet, which is a light touch massage; breathing techniques for relaxation; clinical aromatherapy; and the labyrinth. Perhaps most importantly, every bedside caregiver is required to take a class that discusses the link between stress and healing, and how to create a healing environment.

“So many aspects must be considered to create a healing environment for our patients,” explains Ryan. “It’s a smile, a touch, the words we use, the lighting in the room and more.”

The hospital supplies each patient with a small hand massager as well as small, integrated therapy packets. The packets contain cards with useful information such as breathing techniques for relaxation, and a hand-held labyrinth that can be used for quiet meditation or mindfulness. The goal is to provide women with the tools to relax both in and out of the hospital.

“We want them to leave with confidence—to know that stress can be reduced with some simple techniques that can be incorporated in their everyday lives,” says Ryan.

St. Vincent Women’s Hospital is located at 8111 Township Line Road. For more information, call 317-415-8111 or visit



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