For many, the word “therapy” brings about images of lying on a couch while being asked, “How does that make you feel?”

While this type of therapy can be helpful for many hospice patients, they often want or need something more. Integrative therapies fill that need and are specially designed to consider the whole person: medically, psychosocially and spiritually.

“Masonic Village is ahead of the curve in terms of the variety of integrative therapies we offer,”  Kristin Thomas, hospice support services coordinator, said.

Along with aromatherapy, meditation, music therapy, pet visitation, spiritual care and support groups, Masonic Village Hospice offers several types of massage and energy work therapies to patients, specifically Healing Touch™, reflexology, Reiki™, and therapeutic massage. Out of these therapies, Healing Touch is the least known and the most unique.

Healing Touch, an energy therapy, uses light touch techniques to help balance a patient’s energy system and encourage self-healing within the body, mind and spirit. Healing Touch can also reduce stress and improve the function of the immune system.

“It brings patients a sense of peace and calming,” Kristin said, “which is so important.”

The unique therapy is offered to Masonic Village Hospice patients thanks to generous volunteers and the financial contributions of donors, and several staff members have taken courses in Healing Touch.

Tammy Nickel, a practitioner for Masonic Village, provides Healing Touch sessions to patients. Her interest in “the interplay between physiology and well-being” brought her to the therapy in 2007. She loves its “extraordinary results” the most, and is always impressed to see changes in patients’ attitudes and overall quality of life.

“Healing Touch is second nature to me now. It’s never boring. It’s a way of life,” Tammy says.

Sally Dixon, a Masonic Village resident, enjoys Healing Touch sessions given by volunteers several times a month. She finds it helps her go to sleep faster and easier and reduces her pain.

“When you’re 97, anything you can do does a lot of good. But there’s no point in doing it if you don’t believe in the spirit,” she says.