ST. JOHNSBURY - Members of the Northern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) volunteer services provide help to patients suffering from illnesses.
The group of 150 volunteers use a variety of different methods to help patients ease the pain from illness, including help from music, therapy dogs, and a unique Japanese practice of healing called Reiki. This method is medicine free and is designed to lower stress and calm patients.
Dy Thresher, a Reiki practitioner of 8 years, says relaxation, stress relief, and pain control are all benefits of this treatment. "Reiki is a natural relaxation technique. It's administered by a general touch to your body."
Thresher says that by using this healing touch method, the bodies natural ability to heal is activated. "It's my theory that everybody does Reiki. When you give somebody a hug or when children fall down and run to mom, who wraps their arms around them."
Pat Forest, Volunteer Service Director, says the volunteer program at NVRH always gets good feedback. "People really appreciate [the volunteers] being here. And realize that they are doing it for free. They love volunteers."
And the patients aren't the only ones that benefit from having volunteers. The hospital does too. "We support our hospital by having the volunteers, we support the departments by having volunteers," says Forest. "And our patients as well are supported."