Holistic Hospitals Appear in Maine

Classical music, aromatherapy, massage tables…these are things you’d expect to find at a day spa.  But these mind-relaxing modes are now being used for a different purpose…medicine.

It used to be that hospitals kept to traditional, or what’s known as western medicine.

But more medical facilities in Maine are realizing that treating the problem isn’t enough, you have to mend the person as well.

“In the last decade or so, the word integrative medicine has been used more and more.”

Dr. john Woytowicz should know. He’s the Director of Integrative Medicine at Maine Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency in Augusta. The physician started studying herbs at the request of his patients.

“Over time, I’ve incorporated botanical medicine into my practice,” says Dr. Woytowicz.

At one time, holistic healing was considered alternative medicine. But now, Dr. Woytowicz and other physicians around Maine are offering it to their patients as an enhancement option for more traditional treatments.

“I try to use it as another service to provide to them, another set of skills that might help them,” the herbalist says.

Dr. Woytowicz says many common health problems can be treated with botanical medicines.

“Things like headaches, arthritis, digestive problems is a very, very common area where herbal medicines can be very, very useful. Herbs are different from pharmaceuticals in many ways. I mean, they have active ingredients, but there’s many active ingredients in a plant. And they’re balanced in some ways.”

Sherrie Woodward is the Senior Vice President for Patient Services at Maine General Medical Center.

“I think we’re coming out of a generation that looked for a pill to be the answer for everything.”

Maine General has incorporated integrative medicine into many of its patient services. Things like art and music therapy, reiki, accupuncture, and massage.

“We try to look at the patient as an individual and as a whole. And what works for you may not work for me,” says Woodward.

Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor also uses integrative medicine, particularly in its rehab and cancer centers.

Reiki, a type of touch therapy, is provided to patients as well as family members.

“Patients have had very positive responses,” says Martha Wildman, director of volunteer services at EMMC. “We’re tracking our sessions, Reiki sessions, and the patients have overwhelmingly had very positive responses. They don’t all necessarily know exactly what’s happened but they are very comfortable with it and feel very comforted and much less pain in a lot of situations.”

“I think as we’re learning, that often times healing comes from within and that there are many different modalities of what we need to do,” says Woodward.

A call to hospitals around the area revealed that integrative medicine is still a new idea.

Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover Foxcroft does offer accupucture at one of its family practices.

St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor offers an art therapy program for folks with diabetes.

Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast did offer reiki and massage therapy, but was forced to stop because of budget cuts.

Prince of Wales Says Spiritual Care Can Help Healing Process

LONDON – The heir to the throne, who is a long-standing supporter of complementary and alternative medicine, made his comments on Friday morning after meeting ordinands at St Mellitus College, London’s newest Anglican theological training institution.

Discussing the trainee priests’ decision to go into the church, the Prince said: “It would seem in today’s world that this was a frightfully unfashionable thing to do, but ladies and gentleman, you are, in some extraordinary way, bucking the trend.”

He praised the work of the evangelical Alpha Course, which was founded by the parish vicar, Nicky Gumbel of Holy Trinity Brompton.

The Prince, who would become Supreme Governor of the Church of England if he is crowned king, said: “The fact that you are able to plant churches and help encourage congregations in some of these previously redundant, unused churches is again enormously encouraging and I greatly admire Nicky Gumbel and indeed his son for the work they are doing and for the work they are inspiring among so many of you.”

He went on: “One of the reasons I started my Foundation for Integrated Health was to try and encourage people to appreciate the fact that we are made up of mind, body and spirit.

“One of the great tragedies, it seems to me, about today’s world is the way in which it has become so fragmented that we can no longer see the whole picture, we no longer see the unity of things let alone our relationship and inter-connectedness with nature, because after all we are nature but somehow we are taught that we apart from it and not a part of it.”

The Prince referred to Marylebone Health Centre, which he opened in the crypt of a church in 1987 as the first NHS practice to use complementary therapies such as massage, acupuncture and homeopathy.

It is linked to a Healing and Counselling Centre where patients can receive “healing prayer” and “spiritual direction” with Christian priests.

The Prince said: “The thing I thought was so wonderful about that particular clinic was the fact that they used the Church of England spiritual healing mission.

“So often the doctors would tell me they would be able to send a patient down the corridor to the Church of England spiritual healing mission, who would have time to listen and it was the listening to the particular problem that people had, that actually helped the healing process.

“And again, so often those people that had been healed would come back to help with others.”

He went on: “It always seemed to me that in today’s world because of the fragmentation and the disconnection, the greatest challenge it seems is how do you reconnect people to anything like a spiritual understanding? It seemed to me that one way possibly was through healthcare, if you can reintroduce people to the mind, body and spirit element in their make up.”