Oncology Nurse Brenda Disparti Shares Healing Touch With Her Patients

Article By: Bob Reynolds

Nurse Brenda Disparti has always wanted to treat people on a holistic level.  That’s why she became a practitioner of Healing Touch.  “It appealed to my need to help the whole person,” she recalled.  “It felt like a relief to be doing something that’ll help someone.”

About working with participants, Brenda says, “When we start treating someone, we ground ourselves … We tell ourselves, ‘May this person receive whatever they need.’  I’m completely focused on the person [needing treatment].”

Brenda has been an oncology nurse at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs.  Nine years ago she attended a talk on Healing Touch.  Brenda subsequently completed all five levels of training required to become certified as a Healing Touch Practitioner.

Brenda became a LifeSpark volunteer three years ago, but she hasn’t stopped there.  Like many who get hooked on a good idea, she felt called to pass on what she’d learned and to spread the word about the service that LifeSpark offers.  So nearly a year ago Brenda became oncology advisor for LifeSpark’s board of directors.  She was also the coordinator for her hospital’s complementary care program as well for Healing Touch classes taught at the hospital.

Selling new participants on the benefits of Healing Touch isn’t always easy, however.  Brenda reports, “It can be difficult to recruit new patients who are already feeling overwhelmed with all the appointments they have to keep for their cancer treatment regimens.  But I tell them it won’t hurt to try it,” she says.  “Most patients, especially those who are having a lot of difficulty, are willing to give it a try.”  Once they try it, they usually love it and want more.

One participant who she’s been working with for the last two years has an aggressive form of breast cancer.  The woman was taking an oral chemo drug that kept her cancer stable.  “She has good quality of life,” Brenda reports, adding that once she started receiving Healing Touch this participant has been able to resume gardening, one of her passions.  “Her experience [of Healing Touch] is that it’s peaceful, gives her a sense of well-being.  It re-energizes her to go about her week,” Brenda says.

But the sense of well-being generated during a session isn’t a one-way street.  Like many other practitioners, Brenda gets a boost as well.  “When I work with a participant it’s a sacred experience.  There’s a peacefulness, a connection, which benefits me as well as the person I’m working with.”

What do Brenda’s hospital colleagues think of her work with Healing Touch?  “My fellow nurses and doctors are very receptive to the energy-balancing work that we do,” she reports.  “They don’t always understand it, but they’ve seen improved outcomes, especially with participants who have high anxiety levels.  It’s really helped those participants to complete their treatments.”

Before moving from Denver to Salida, Brenda worked for 12 weeks at a time with each participant, usually once a week, during her lunch hour.  While treating participants, she says, “I was completely focused on the other person.  My mind was quiet, and I was just there.  In order for my energy to be balanced to work with someone, I need to be in a heart-centered state.”

“Since I’ve learned about energy work I’ve become a stronger nurse,” Brenda continued.  “Because doing energy work taught me to be heart-centered and to stay grounded, it’s allowed me to be more present and to connect better [with participants].  The more I can do that the better for the patient.  It’s helped me reduce a lot of the stress I’ve felt as a nurse. … I’d love for nurses to learn Healing Touch because it’ll help them—as it’s helped me—to take care of patients better.”

Almost every nurse that comes to her classes says, “This is why I got into nursing.”  Brenda’s colleagues have come to see the benefits of Healing Touch.  Brenda especially notices the most benefit in participants with a lot of anxiety.  She believes that Reiki, energy balancing, and Healing Touch can all be important modalities for caring for participants dealing with cancer and its treatment.  “Cancer can affect people emotionally and spiritually as well as physically,” Brenda observes.  “Healing Touch treats people on more than the physical level … I really value the opportunity to volunteer and work with patients in that way.”

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