Zen Hospital

NEW YORK These nurses at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City are taking a break.This respite is doing more than relaxing their body. It's relaxing their mind before they head back out on the cancer ward.

"Patients can feel if they're so stressed out," Aurora Ocampo, R.N., M.A., C.N.S., Beth Israel Medical Center, told Ivanhoe. The New York Zen Center is the first in the country, and what they learn here, they take out on the floor.

"I've seen the benefits." Darcy O'Sullivan, R.N., Beth Israel Medical Center, said. "People really appreciate these options."

Darcy O'Sullivan uses aromatherapy to help her patients deal with chemo treatments. Lavender is used for relaxation. Peppermint curbs nausea.

"It helps people get through treatment and to fight," Elaine Meszaros, R.N., C.N.S., Beth Israel Medical Center explained. "Patients seem more satisfied and more cared for, " Shirley Escala, R.N,. Beth Israel Medical Center said.

RN Debora Matza uses her 19 years of experience now as a yoga therapist at the hospital. "It is deeply relaxing," Matza said.

Methods like yoga and relaxation have been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and decrease fatigue. They can help boost mood, concentration and even memory.

"It also helps to facilitate circulation, helps digestion," Matza added.

"It feels relaxing," Erik, a patient explained. "A lot for the mental also," This is something that's good for both the cared for and the caregivers.

Patients at the hospital practice yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, reiki, and undergo nutrition training. They are also assigned a "patient navigator" to help them during their stay in the hospital.

Elizabeth Dowling
Beth Israel Medical Center
New York, NY
(212) 523-7772

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