Tag Archive for: holistic care

5 Holistic Methods Used to Process Grief

The thought of losing someone you love is almost unbearable, but for millions of people each year they must grieve for someone close to them. Grief is an emotion we all face at one time or another in our lives and is completely natural. However, being natural does not make it easy. While we may never truly get over the loss of a loved one [1], there are steps to be taken that can help you process grief and make life a little easier.


Grief is an emotional stress that we store within the body and overtime those emotions can help bring us down. Yoga [2] is one way to help loosen that tightness without having it all unravel at once. Yoga allows your mind to soothe yourself by providing mental self-care and at the same time physical activity which is also important for releasing pent up stress or anxiety.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are chemicals that can either be rubbed on the skin or inhaled. Inhaling essential oils helps to stimulate areas of the limbic system that regulate emotion, behavior, long-term memory, breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Each oil, such as rose or sandalwood, provides specific or healing responses depending on the emotion you are trying to inhibit or soothe. For example, rose [3] is commonly used to ease anxiety, depression, headaches, and menstrual cramps.

Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep can be difficult when you are going through a grief cycle [4]. This is because your mind is filled with thoughts about the loss of your loved one. In addition, when you do fall asleep you are likely to be plagued with sleep disruptions such as nightmares. While getting a quality night of sleep can be difficult there are a few things that can be done to help ease yourself into bed. For starters it is important to create an environment to induce sleep. Use dark or calming colors or black out curtains. Essential oils, a white noise machine, and mood music can all help. If all else fails, cuddling up to a loved one like your spouse or pet [5] are shown to fulfill the need for security and comfort.


A lack of motivation is one of the most difficult things to overcome when you suffer from grief. Grief can easily swallow you up and keep you hidden from the outside world. This is one of the reasons why exercise is so important for grief sufferers. Endorphins [6] released during exercise reduce our perception of pain – both mental and physical. This helps to create an improved mood and the physical exertion of your body contributes to better sleep, and an overall feeling of accomplishment.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy [7] utilizes a variety of tools and mechanisms such as oils, music, and level of touch that can help a person experiencing grief. Massage therapy has a long history of improving physical conditions and emotional conditions such as grief. Massage therapy helps to soften the body’s muscle tissues that become when experiencing grief while improving blood circulation an overall state of calm.

Resource Links

[1]  Grief Isn’t Something to Get Over

[2] Grief Yoga

[3] Health Benefits of Rose Essential Oil

[4] Sleep and Grief: Tips and Tricks to Get the Rest You Need

[5] Here’s Why Sleeping With Your Dog Is Actually Good For You

[6] Endorphins: Natural Pain and Stress Fighters

[7] Massage Therapy: What You Need To Know

Benefits And Barriers Of A Family-Centered Approach To Holistic Patient Care

Family caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week to take care of their sick relative.  In the past, family caregivers usually remain invisible using healthcare encounters and are usually not identified as a unit of support in the health records of patients.  However, in recent years, studies in the United States showed that the implementation of family-centered approach is beneficial for persons with serious illnesses as well as the caregivers, specifically in pediatric and geriatric patients. Here is an overview of its core concepts, benefits, and barriers.

Core Concepts of  Patient And Family-Centered Care

The family framework is a simple, low technology approach in providing holistic patient care. According to the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, there are four core concepts of patient- and family-centered care.  The first core concept is dignity and respect, which means that health care professionals must listen and respect the decisions of the patient and the family.  The second core concept is information sharing meaning that patients and  families should be given complete and accurate data so that they can make informed decisions.  The third core concept is participation. The patients and families are empowered through ensuring they participate in the decision-making process. The last core concept of collaboration highlights the need for all individuals (patients, families, and health care professionals) to work together for the betterment of the patient.

Benefits Of Family Approach

The major benefit of this approach is the shift of the control and power of patient care from the individuals who deliver it to the ones who receive it. This approach recognizes the autonomy of patients, which is a major concept in bioethics and rehabilitation.  The importance of families in promoting health and well-being of every member is also emphasized. In previous years, family-based treatment modalities such as meditation or mindfulness have been shown to have benefits for the whole family.  For instance, it has been demonstrated that such approaches are effective in addressing eating disorders and depression among children.

By listening to the patients and families about their experiences and hearing what’s important to them, healthcare professionals can improve their delivery of care. In a study, researchers found that parents’ satisfaction increased as much as 70% after the implementation of family-centered care. These professionals also learn how care systems work and not just how they are supposed to work. As such, this approach is mutually beneficial to both health care professionals and patients as both of their needs are fulfilled.

Barriers To A Family Approach

Since 1993, family-centered approach has been a priority for hospitals, states the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.  Nevertheless, there are numerous barriers to its successful implementation. For example, the different meanings of family-centered care in the discipline causes confusion to how it should be practiced. Moreover, the roles and boundaries of the health professionals and the family remain unclear.

Most importantly, the attitudes, values, and perspectives of healthcare professionals also affect the use of family approach in hospital settings. One of the things that influence their attitudes is their lack of knowledge of how to implement it.  Some professionals also mentioned that they do not support this approach because the outcomes are difficult to measure.

The main objective of family-centered approach is to respect the patient’s decision about his or her care and to emphasize the role of the family in the treatment.  While there are advantages to the approach, there are still barriers on how it can be implemented in reality. Further research is warranted to determine its effectiveness and to help hospitals transition to a patient- and family-centered approach.