Liddle Kidz Foundation Pediatric Massage course was filled to capacity with fifty health care participants, including twelve physical and occupational therapists at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
Submitted by Dr, Ana Verissimo, MD for the Employee Newsletter of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center
December 20, 2010
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is actively developing an Integrative Medicine Program within the Division of Pain Medicine. As deined by the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine: “Integrative medicine is the practice of medicine that reafirms the importance of the relationship between the practitioner and the patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health care professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.” This initiative has been supported by several divisions including Pain Medicine, Pediatric Hematology Oncology, Pediatric Pulmonary Division and members of Pediatric Intensive Care.
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center staff had the great privilege of collaborating with The Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy and offered a pediatric massage course by Tina Allen, a national and internationally known pioneer in advancing pediatric massage education.
The purpose of the integrative medicine program is to promote healing through implementing relaxation techniques, enhancing self coping strategies, alleviating pain and anxiety associated with acute, chronic, recurrent and life threatening medical conditions. These principles apply to our patients, their support families and our entire staff. Preventative medicine and wellness education are implicit within the integrative medical model. We will be providing greater opportunity in guided imagery, focused attention and biofeedback for our patients who seek relaxation techniques as part of their treatment. Furthermore, we will be incorporating pediatric massage in 2011 and are actively discussing pediatric yoga program in conjunction with the departments of physical and occupational therapy.
Recently, Connecticut Children’s staff had the great privilege of collaborating with The Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy and offered a pediatric massage course by Tina Allen from the Liddle Kidz Foundation, a national and internationally known pioneer in advancing pediatric massage education. The course was filled to capacity with fifty (50) health care participants, including twelve physical and occupational therapists at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. The holistic approach to health and healing has been the foundation of medicine since its inception thousands of years ago. It is thereby prudent to re examine its beginnings and evolution. In addition, one can appreciate the necessity to employ this type of medical care for its youngest and most vulnerable citizens. It is in this spirit that we recognize the need to pursue its development and sustainability.
In a recent study published by National Center for Complementary and Alternative (NCCAM) in 2008, 38% of adults and nearly 12% of children used some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Furthermore, 30-70% of children with chronic and or recurrent medical conditions use CAM and 30-84% pediatric patients with cancer use CAM. Clearly, the percentage of CAM use is growing. Connecticut Children’s is working to provide optimal services for efficacy, safety and research in integrative medicine to align with this growing need.
My personal journey led me to expand upon the traditional medical model and seek an education in Health, Healing, and Integrative Medicine. Two years ago I left my secure fifteen year pediatric practice in order to do so. I wanted to explore an integrated medical approach that encompasses a union of mind, body, and spirit in medical treatment. I also sought to employ coping skills and provide elements of control back to my patients and their families, all in conjunction with conventional medical treatment. This empowerment is the pinnacle of integrative medicine.
During the last two years of this journey, I have attended conferences, spoken with leaders in the field, pursued training in guided imagery, hypnosis, meditation and pediatric massage and continue to work on the fruition of this goal. I have also had the great privilege of formally discussing this topic within and outside of the hospital arena. I have had the opportunity to speak with patients and their families. The resounding theme they present is a need to have control of their lives again; they desire to not be denied by their disease or circumstance.
These are passionate, brave people from all socioeconomic, cultural, religious backgrounds and they come with traditions and expectations that are sometimes not being fully met within the confines of standard western medical care. They seek compassion and understanding in a medical system that is can be dictated by numbers and radiographic scans. They understand that their health providers are taxed by time constraints and that health providers are also in need of care and compassion.
Finally, we all yearn to learn coping skills that will beneit us in many situations not solely dictated within the hospital walls. This is the foundation of integrative medicine. This is where integrative medicine shines.