Rabbi Nadia Siritsky: Jewish Hospital leads way in healing therapy, patient-centered treatment

Rabbi Nadia Siritsky

Even in the midst of change, Jewish Hospital’s focus on advancing its healing mission and creating new and innovative ways to provide care continues unabated.
This past week, Dr. Carl Middleton of Catholic Health Initiatives came to Jewish Hospital to commission four new practitioners and four new instructors in Healing Therapy. This training reflects a year’s worth of study and requires 50-60 hours of classroom instruction.
Healing therapy is a person-centered spiritual approach to care that utilizes non-pharmacological means of alleviating pain, promoting relaxation in those who are experiencing anxiety, tension or stress and supporting those who are dying.
Person-centered care is a philosophy of caring that is comprehensive in scope (assessing and responding to the needs of the whole person in body, mind and spirit) and personalized by design (individualized according to a person’s values, needs and desires). Person-centered care is delivered through collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships, such as in palliative care, and reflects our core values as an organization.
Healing therapy teaches practitioners how to lay hands and facilitate relief and relaxation through unconditional love. The course places a spiritual emphasis on the ways in which all the world’s faith traditions share these same teachings of love and compassion.
In an era when the opioid crisis has reached epidemic proportions, it is all the more important to teach patients to include non-pharmacological means of pain relief and relaxation, such as the energy techniques of therapeutic touch (Delores Krieger) and healing touch (Hover-Kramer). Healing Therapy includes the gentle healing arts of presence, positive affirmations, relaxation response conscious breathing, aromatherapy, guided imagery, comfort touch, hand and foot massage, body massage, cutaneous stimulation, music, humor and laughter, distraction, prayer and meditation.
As we prepare for Elul, the final month before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, our tradition calls on us all to focus upon healing, renewal, restoration, repair and forgiveness. At a time when our world is increasingly engulfed in violence and hatred, this message is all the more relevant.
May each of us use this time to practice prayer, mindfulness and meditation, to practice positive thinking, and spread hope and forgiveness. Let us remember that the energy we carry with us has an effect on those around us. Let us do what we can to bring a calming peace to those we encounter.

(Rabbi Nadia Siritsky is vice president of mission at KentuckyOne Hleath.)

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