Complementary Therapies

In addition to prescriptive medical services, hospice care patients at Avow can take advantage of a variety of complementary therapies. Offerings include:

Massage Therapy – Massage therapy in hospice care is the use of gentle, nurturing touch to complement the traditional means of coping with the multidimensional pain associated with terminal illness. Our licensed massage therapists manipulate the soft tissue structures of the body through various techniques, with the goal of alleviating pain, discomfort, muscle spasms, stress and anxiety and improving one’s overall sense of well-being. In addition, massage is used to relieve edema (swelling), insomnia, restlessness, constipation and nausea. The massage therapist assesses the patient’s needs at each visit, then determines the most appropriate combination of techniques to successfully address those needs.

Music Therapy – Board certified music therapists develop an individualized “prescription” of music interventions, which in hospice care includes singing and playing live music for and with a patient, songwriting, music with imagery for relaxation, song lyric interpretation, reminiscence and life review with music. Interventions are designed to reduce depression, anxiety and pain; improve emotional well-being; and provide comfort and enhanced quality of life. The therapeutic relationship between music therapist and patient provides a safe and non-threatening milieu in which the patient can express thoughts and feelings both verbally and non-verbally. The music therapist provides music from all musical genres and from varying time periods, based upon the preferences of the patient. It is often during these shared music experiences when patients reconnect with memories of people and events in their lives which were significant to them. This is an important accomplishment for those who, at the end of their lives, seek to find meaning and purpose in review of their life experiences.

Reiki – Reiki is a Japanese word meaning “universal life energy.” The belief of many ancient cultures, also supported by current research, is that energy extends throughout and beyond the physical body. It is believed that disruptions to or imbalances of the energy flow within the body correlate to illness and distress. The purpose of Reiki is to align the universal energy with one’s individual energy. The art of delivering Reiki addresses both chronic and acute conditions by promoting balance among all the body systems. By gently placing the hands upon different areas of the patient’s body for several minutes at a time, the Reiki practitioner serves as a channel of energy flow from the universal life energy to the individual. Reiki provides a deep relaxation experience, a heightened sense of well-being, release of muscle tension and relief from anxiety and depression. In addition, Reiki is effective in reducing pain.