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Hospitals & Holistic Care

"Integrative Health is the integration of conventional and complementary alternative healthcare options which address the body, mind, and spirit, as well as the environment and relationships with others. It focuses on wellness, health promotion, and the healing process. Many disciplines within Integrative Health have been a part of human healing since civilization began!" - Windham Hospital

This page shows the holistic services, often provided through an Integrative Medicine Department, offered by area hospitals to help you decide where to go for care. Also included here is a little of the history of the programs and information on educational classes and courses offered.

ECHN  |   Hartford  |   Saint Francis  |   Windham

Hartford Hospital

Since 1997 Hartford Hospital has been translating a new philosophy that integrates complementary therapies into Western medical practice to improve care and healing.

Hartford Hospital was the first in the area to recognize the possibilities of holistic medicine and experiment with an Integrative Medicine Department. Nurse ALICE MOORE, a Reiki Master, introduced energy medicine to the hospital one staff member at a time. Most holistic programs are introduced to hospitals from the inside. They then hired MOLLY PUNZO, MD as director. Dr. Punzo practiced holistic medicine and did her residency at Hartford so she was trusted too. Over time they explored Reiki, acupuncture, massage and expressive arts among others. When Dr. Punzo left the department fell under the supervision of MARCIA ROTHWELL, RN who had been with the program from the beginning and is now retired. Hartford's Marketing Department felt holistic care might give them a competitive edge and promoted it heavily in their advertising. Regrettably the hospital never truly funded the program which had to find its own grants and funding. This meant their budget varied from year to year and the future was usually uncertain.

However, the hospital stuck with it and this year is celebrating their 11th anniversary of the program. Read Alice Moore's history of the department. Alice is a Vernon resident as well, so as an East of the River community we can take pride that one of our own played a major role in introducing holistic health to area hospitals. They have also written a free online guide to help other hospitals learn how to develop an Integrative Medicine Department and offer consultation services.

In 2008 the Integrative Medicine Department became a division of the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center with SUSAN BISBEE, an acupunturist, as the current Directory. Cancer has always been a good fit as there comes a point in the progression of cancer when conventional medicine no longer helps and doctors will offer people holistic treatments.

They currently offer the following modalities: acupuncture, Expressive Art, guided imagery, massage therapy, reflexology, CranialSacral, baby massage, hand massage, Prepare for Surgery and Reiki therapy.

Hartford has only their Glastonbury center East of the River. Although some centers offer Wellness/Integrative Medicine Programs, they aren't yet offered in Glastonbury, but are planned. However in a unique collaboration The Graduate Institute is offering a Masters Degree in Health and Healing at Hartford Hospital. MARIE MENUT also offers Vibrational Healing classes with Tibetan Sing Bowls at the hospital.

» Go to Hartford Hospital Integrative Medicine Center

Saint Francis

Saint Francis Hospital followed Hartford Hospital's lead once Hartford began promoting their Integrative Medicine Department. CAROL TYLER started in the early 1990's offering integrative programs at the Enfield center under the Women's Health Resource Center. Volunteers began providing integrative medicine services to Saint Francis' inpatients in 2002 in response to requests for relaxation services such as therapeutic massage and energy therapy. MARK WARNER, MD, a holistic physician, was the first Medical Director of Integrative Medicine under the Department of Medicine. SHARON O'BRIEN is the Manager for the Center and started the inpatient activities at Saint Francis.

As a Roman Catholic hospital they have had a problem offering Reiki as the Catholic Bishop's incorrectly relate it to Eastern religions. However, they do embrace other forms of energy medicine recognizing the benefits.

In 2009 they formed The Integrative Medicine Center inside the hospital under Medical Director KATHLEEN MUELLER, MD, who is trained in acupuncture and hypnosis. Now a section of the Department of Medicine, the Center has five staff members, several independent contractors and 30 credentialed volunteers who currently provide more than 275 treatments monthly to inpatients. Their Vision statement reads "Saint Francis strives to provide an optimal healing environment in which Integrative Medicine services complement and support conventional medical treatment. Our holistic therapies and educational programs help patients, families and staff to actualize their innate healing capacities while honoring and integrating body, mind and spirit."

They offer a wide range of in-hospital therapies including craniosacral, a variety of energy methods, sound healing, hypnosis, pet therapy, meditation, reflexology and massage with more coming. Many are also offered at their Enfield and Glastonbury facilities.

Saint Francis probably offers the most classes and talks on Integrative Medicine of any hospital in the area and at more locations with programs such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Positive Thoughts, Positive Outcomes offered.

» Go to Saint Francis Hartford Hospital Integrative Medicine Center

Windham Hospital

Windham Hospital is a smaller hospital located in Willimantic and an example of what can be accomplished with a strong vision and perseverance. MARY HORAN has been on the staff for many years and understands the value of complementary modalities. Bit by bit she introduced the benefits through internal education and public programs. Today other small hospitals visit Windham looking for advice and ideas on how to integrate their hospitals. Windham is also part of Hartford Hospital's regional care network.

The Integrative Health Steering Committee is an active group of practitioners, staff, and community volunteers whose mission is to enhance the lives and well-being of their community through an integration of mind, body, and spirit. The hospital offers acupuncture, massage, Reiki, yoga, nutritional counseling, meditation, pet visitations and a Caring Clown program as well as maintaining a Resource Center.

For years they have offered a free monthly Integrative Health Lecture series on the last Wednesday of each month with the type of the practitioners you find listed in Conscious CT.

» Go to Windham's Integrative Health Services


With the opening in June 2010 of the John A. DiQuatro Cancer Center next to Manchester Memorial Hospital, ECHN introduced its new Integrative Services program. They are currently seeking volunteers for the program who can offer Reiki, Massage or Acupuncture/Acupressure. They will also soon add Music, Art Therapy and Yoga. If interested contact DONNA CAMERON, RN at (860) 646-1222 ext 1406 or dcameron@echn.org. Donna is the program chair, as well as a nurse and a Reiki Master/Teacher.

Over time, advocates hope Integrative Services will expand into other parts of ECHN's facilities, but this is a beginning and an opportunity to show what holistic modalities can contribute. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has awarded ECHN $10,000 from the H. Louise Ruddell Fund to benefit ECHNís Integrative Medicine Cancer Fund.

Manchester Memorial Hospital has a birthing center where Hypnobirthing®, baby massage and doula support are offered. Acupuncture and massage therapy are available at the Women's Center For Wellness in South Windsor and massage is available at the Glastonbury Wellness Center. Informational talks are now being offered and promoted on the various services being offered.

» Go to ECHN Information

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