Mind, Body, Spirit: The Art of Healing

By | 2022-02-08T17:36:54-05:00 February 23rd, 2009|1 Comment

Early in her career, Dorothy Whitton, RN, MSN, AHN-BC, became fascinated by health practices that focus on relieving stress, accentuating the positive, and promoting mental and physical wellness. Whitton, who has been a nurse for 33 years, focuses on holistic nursing at her Nyack, N.Y., Healing Wisdom practice. She says her goal is to help nurses and patients understand the importance of self-care and practicing preventive medicine.

“Over time, I saw that patients were coming back — experiencing a frequency of similar problems. They expected medications or supplies to make them feel better, but I noticed that those things didn’t always make them feel better,” Whitton says.

Starts With Self

To inspire patients to take better care of themselves, nurses must first take care of themselves. “In general, nurses put themselves last,” she says. “Yet even on a plane, the flight attendants tell passengers that to take care of others, you must first put the oxygen mask on yourselves.” That means taking time for oneself by exercising, eating nutritious foods, and staying away from unhealthy habits.

It’s also important that nurses love what they do, she adds. “When you love what you’re doing, your body feels good. When you feel irritated or aggravated, it shows physically and it’s evident to others,” she says.

According to Whitton, nurturing one’s mental health and controlling stress are vital in the overall picture of wellness. She has learned Reiki, hypnosis, guided imagery, and more, to care for herself and her patients. “Especially when people are not feeling healthy or have received news that is not positive, we should expand our nursing model to help them with their emotional needs,” she says.

Power of the Positive

Whitton teaches a one-hour program to help patients get ready for surgery and, she says, to heal faster. The program’s focus is not only on preparing patients emotionally and spiritually, but also on helping them to understand the importance of connecting with other people. She recommends that patients tell people the times and days of their surgeries, so that friends and loved ones can send positive thoughts. “We use a lot of guided imagery, so that they can feel a connection of warmth and love,” she says.

To relieve stress, she also works to improve people’s perceptions. Having a gloom-and-doom perception and fearing pain works against the healing process. Whitton uses guided imagery to encourage soothing images of nature or water and deep breathing.

The idea is to build confidence, hardiness, and resilience so that no matter what happens, people feel they have support and love in their lives. Whitton also says that nurses can suggest that patients start the day with an affirmation. For example, if a patient is going to surgery, he or she could start the day with “I am healthy,” and continue reaffirming that thought throughout the day, even after the surgery.

For Ourselves and Our Patients

A Reiki master, Whitton uses the noninvasive, ancient, natural healing technique to promote relaxation, peacefulness, and calmness in her patients. By using the hands over the chakras, which are physical pathways through which the life force flows, Reiki practitioners allow the free flow of energy to nourish the organs and promote well-being.

“I became certified in hypnosis and use guided imagery and hypnosis for those who want to get rid of old belief patterns or certain behaviors, like smoking,” Whitton says. She offers group meetings and lectures in the mid-Hudson Valley region and runs workshops at Nyack Hospital, Nyack, N.Y.

There are many components to being healthy, including mental, physical, family, relationship, social, and career health. “It’s all related,” Whitton says. “When people interact with nurses, they want more than treatment and a ‘hello.’ They look to us to provide emotional and spiritual support. We have to improve our own self-care and relaxation opportunities. We should do that for ourselves and for our patients.”

Lisette Hilton is a frequent contributor to Nursing Spectrum and a freelance healthcare reporter.

To comment, e-mail [email protected]

To read more about holistic nursing, go to http://include.nurse.com/article/20081208/NATIONAL02/ 110060079/-1/frontpage. For more information about Healing Wisdom, go to www.earthswisdom.com.


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One Comment

  1. Avatar
    Goodwin thres November 13, 2019 at 9:14 am - Reply

    What happens when a person dies? I am fearful of dying.

    The Bible speaks of physical death and spiritual death. When a person dies physically, the soul and spirit leave the body in an inanimate state on earth. Those who die physically in Christ are united spiritually with God, while those who die apart from Christ await the final judgment. Physical death, therefore, is the separation of the soul and spirit from the body.

    Spiritual death is the separation of the soul and spirit from God. It is possible to be physically alive on earth while being spiritually dead. Apostle Paul describes those “who were dead in trespasses and sins” in Ephesians 2:1. Paul also wrote that sin entered the world through Adam and spread to every person (Romans 5:12), and that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Spiritually dead persons are “made alive” through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:1). Whatever one’s spiritual condition at the time of physical death, whether spiritually alive or spiritually dead, passes through to eternity.

    So physical death is the separation of the spiritual nature of man from the body, while spiritual death is the separation of the spiritual nature of man from God. For a Christian (born again), physical death is nothing more than a doorway through which we pass into eternal life. Jesus said it best: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). There is no reason for a Christian to fear physical death. Through faith in Christ, we have eternal life even before die physically (John 17:3).

    If you were to die right now, do you think you would enter into Heaven? Would you like to have the absolute assurance that you will be welcome there? If so then, pray this simple prayer:

    Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I know I cannot earn my way into Heaven. I thank you for sacrificing your life so that my sins could be forgiven. I know the only way anyone can receive forgiveness is through you, and so I come to you now and ask you to come into my life, forgive me of my sins, cleanse me, heal me, and be my personal savior so I may have eternal life through you. I pray in your name Jesus. Amen.

    As a continuation of your faith in Christ, you should start studying the Bible daily in order to gain a closer relationship with God, also find a local church to attend that teaches directly from the Bible so you will have someone to answer any questions you may still have. Welcome to the family of God!

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