soar to success magazine

Soar to Success: Creating Supportive Therapies that Fill the Gap

In Aromatherapy, Featured, Healing Touch, Natural Healing, Nia, Relaxation Therapies by Debra Reis

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– Debra Reis, RN, MSN

Have you heard of treating side effects of medical procedures with supportive therapies? We hadn’t until becoming acquainted with Author, Speaker and Nurse Practitioner, Debra Reis, MSN. She shared with us that as a nurse, she had been working in clinical settings and had witnessed first-hand the many wonders that modern medicine creates every day. However, even with the advanced diagnostics and scientifically educated doctors and medical professionals, she felt that there was a piece missing.

Deb realized that the missing piece for her was that, even though the professional was doing really great with the physical aspect, modern medical practices did not treat the whole person. She realized that Doctors learn scientific methods of diagnosis and treatment, but do not address the emotional, mental, and spiritual facets of who we are. In 1995, Deb began to ask the question, “Why don’t we treat these other aspects of the body, as well as, the physical aspect?”

Once she began to consider the whole of each person, a new world opened up to her. The holistic idea of treating mind, body and spirit as an integrated approach was still in its infancy back in 1995 when Deb had her realization and certainly was not a common practice. It has evolved and today a much greater awareness exists, plus many organizations and institutions, realizing the benefits, want to include them into their health plans. Deb shared that, as a holistic health coach, she meets with each client individually to determine the correct program to pursue. Together with the patient, she reviews their goals and devises a wellness plan that fits their needs.

The patient’s current lifestyle, eating habits, and exercise program all are considered. She also reviews the stress factors in their life and offers treatment options to integrate into a complete wellness plan. Deb finds tremendous satisfaction from what she does, especially when she begins to work with someone for the first time. She enjoys learning their problems, creating a plan of treatment and then experiencing a successful outcome. “Helping people improve their quality of life is what I enjoy most.” Deb tackles the difficult cases, as well as, the more common maladies. She works frequently in an organizational setting with cancer patients. Her supportive therapies have created tangible benefits for her patient’s overall health and wellness.

One place that you can find Deb is The Victory Center in Toledo, OH. It is a community center that caters to people undergoing cancer treatment. They offer a variety of therapies directed towards treating the whole person. One plan might provide massage, energy work, healing touch or reflexology. The center also offers aromatherapy and support groups and classes. They have a variety of services and there is no charge for any of them.

Deb’s vision is to expand into more health care organizations. She has found, that even today, health care providers don’t understand how to integrate holistic programs into their everyday practice.

She finds it exciting to share with other health care organizations the tools that have worked and demonstrate how they can be incorporated into that organization’s treatment plans. Deb created a program called STEP (Supportive Therapy Engagement Program) that she brings into institutions which provides a roadmap for integrating Supportive Therapies into the treatment plans for their patients. She develops seminars and courses for nurses and other medical professionals on staff to create a basic knowledge base and build assessment skills to determine patients’ needs on an individual basis. Deb believes that integrating therapies which address side effects of medical procedures is the next STEP toward better total patient outcomes. Deb also works as a holistic health coach with individuals. We asked her for some advice for our Soar to Success readers that are business owners, who frequently feel overwhelmed and put their own self-care last, resulting in stress and fatigue. Deb suggested a holistic health consultation as the first step. It helps to identify diet and nutrition needs, sleep patterns, fitness or stretching regimens and most importantly stress management needs. A plan is then devised to touch all the bases of daily living for overall health and wellness.

For example, if one of the concerns is too much stress, a possible solution might be meditation. The method could be controlled breathing, guided imagery, or visualization; there are many options available. Even simple tasks such as, taking a walk or walking the dog can relieve stress. It just needs to be built into the plan and then be done consistently. It’s apparent that simply writing a prescription for a single pill or particular therapy does not consider the whole lifestyle and the problem may persist. That is why the holistic approach considers all aspects of a patient’s life and offers a balanced treatment.

One of the supportive therapies that Deb teaches and practices is NIA. It is a fusion fitness program because it blends elements of martial arts, yoga and dance combined in a gentle way that is easy to follow and not hard on joints. The idea of NIA is body awareness and body sensation. It’s not about how much can I do or how fast can I do it, but what feels pleasurable to my body. NIA combined with music is enjoyable and fun and provides a low stress workout for the body.

Essential oils are also a part of supportive therapies that Deb recommends. After all, plants were the first medicine, they are safe to use and have been proven to be an effective solution through the years. Deb has been involved with essential oils for over 15 years. She is a certified clinical aroma therapist and teaches the proper use of essential oils.

She also uses essential oils in her work with cancer patients. Effects of cancer treatments or chronic pain can be dealt with by combining oils with other supplements to create a balanced treatment to restore energy.

Coming from a medical background, Deb Reis understands the need for a complete treatment plan that includes diet and fitness combined with supportive therapies such as Nia, essential oils and relaxation therapies to address a patient’s emotional, mental, spiritual, as well as, physical condition. Her training and experience puts her in a unique position to be able to offer her clients the best holistic treatments available.

Learn more about Deb, her books and her S.T.E.P. program at Both her email and phone number can be found on her website. Also visit Deb’s speaker profile to learn more about the topics she presents and be sure to download her speaker one sheet. Also be sure to listen to our full interview with Deb found on the Soar to Success magazine website.

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