Tips for Adding Holistic Nursing Techniques to Your Practice

Holistic nursing is defined as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as it’s goal (American Holistic Nurses Association, 1998).”  The holistic nurse uses his or her skills and knowledge to nurture the patient’s wholeness, peace, and healing. The whole person is taken into consideration during each phase of the nursing process. Members of the American Holistic Nurses Association use one or more complementary, alternative, or integrative treatments. Here are five approaches you can use on yourself or with your patients to promote healing.

  1. Meditation. This is a great relaxation tool for emotional well-being. At the workplace, you can meditate anywhere that you can find a quiet space–in the break room, outside during a short walk, or in your car before or after your shift (Schroeder, T., 2017). You can even encourage your patients to meditate to help reduce pain and anxiety.
  2. Therapeutic Touch. This technique was developed in the 1970s. It involves the manipulation of a person’s energy field between the practitioner and receiver. The Therapeutic Touch International Association defines it as “a holistic, evidence-based therapy that incorporates the intentional and compassionate use of universal energy to promote balance and well-being (TTIA, 2017).
  3. Aromatherapy. Nurses can use aromatherapy to bring comfort to their patients and reduce pain. Use a scent that has a positive emotion attached to it. Ask the patient what they would prefer and go from there. Practitioners can use essential oils with citrus, mint, woodsy, or floral scents. Different oils can be mixed together to create a unique blend (Guitierez, C., 2017).
  4. Deep Breathing. This can help to reduce stress in yourself and your patients. It’s easy for everyone to do, as long as you can breath! Take deep breaths from your diaphragm, pushing out your belly with each breath. Once you have mastered diaphragmatic breathing, try some other techniques such as 4-7-8 Breathing, Roll Breathing, and Morning Breathing.
  5. Supplements and/or Probiotics. As a nurse, we can recommend certain supplements to our patients such as fish oil, and other vitamins and minerals. I also recommend a probiotic for patients after they have been on antibiotics. The easiest one to get is some yogurt, if they don’t want to spend a lot of money. Always remind your patients to be mindful of drug interactions if they are on any other medications.

These are some recommendations and of course there are many more. Let me know what you have tried in the comment section!


Gutierrez, C. (2017, June). Holistic Nursing: Engaging the Five Senses for Emotional Health (AHNA). Beginnings, 37(3) 6-7, 24-25.

Schroeder, T. (2017, June). Meditation for emotional well-being. American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA). Beginnings; 37(3), 10-11.

Therapeutic Touch International Association,





3 thoughts on “Tips for Adding Holistic Nursing Techniques to Your Practice

  1. Personally a fan of Therapeutic Touch as I have been a recipient of its powers. Sharing an energy with another human being can be a powerful experience as well as an emotionally packed venture. However, it takes an open-mind (which I am guilty of not having sometimes) to truly validate its effects.

    I also am a firm believer in the power of physical touch as a method of healing and emotional care which can have greater effect than any medicine. The power of holding hands, a simple caress, or a loving hug spur feelings of joy, pleasure, and utter happiness in me that I have yet to find in a pill bottle. An apple a day may keep the doctor away but the touch of a kindred spirit can heal the woes of a stress-filled world.


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