Stress Reduction and Pain Relief . . . Holistically

During the course of my 30 years of experience as a registered nurse in more conventional health care settings, I became interested in alternative health care methods for myself, personally, and also as areas for further study and training. 

While terms like “holistic nursing” may have somewhat of a new age connotation for some the true essence of nursing is in fact holistic health in itself. Florence Nightingale, a pioneer (in the 1800’s) of the modern-day profession of nursing, was one of the original “holistic” nurses and considered radical during her day for her approaches to the care of injured soldiers. Not only did she focus on hospital hygiene and sanitation, but she valued aspects in the environment that would promote healing – such as fresh air, sunlight, color, scent, and caring human interactions. 

Today, the American Holistic Nursing Association defines holistic nursing as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal . . . it honors the interconnectedness of self, others, nature and spirituality . . . and is person and relationship-centered, and healing oriented, rather than disease and cure oriented.” There are holistic nurses working within hospitals and other traditional settings, who include a “whole-person” focus and intention in their work with patients. There are also nurses working outside conventional settings, utilizing various Holistic treatments that are Complementary and Integrative in approach.  The list of these “Complementary” therapies is extensive. Some examples include: Reflexology, Reiki, Aromatherapy, Massage Therapy, Meditation/Imagery, Healing Touch, and Therapeutic Touch.  

An increasing number of hospitals and clinical settings are now incorporating “Integrative” healthcare services. From hospice programs and cancer treatment centers, to pre- and post-surgical hospital units, care-plans for patients, as well as their families and caregivers, often include options for complementary therapies to supplement the more traditional healthcare and medical treatments. 

In my own work, I have cared for people of all ages and stages of life – from Pre-natal care to Post-partum and Well-baby care; Pediatric to Teens; and Adults with Chronic Health Issues up to and including Hospice and End-of-Life care. This work has been in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, home health care, and during several summers as a resident summer camp nurse.   

I currently work in private practice with a special focus on stress reduction and pain relief. Each of the therapies that I use provides deep relaxation, which is the beginning of promoting overall balance in health and wellness. 

Benefits reported by my clients include: 

  • Pain reduction 
  • Decreased anxiety & stress levels
  • Improved sleep
  • Better digestion/elimination patterns
  • Support with fertility issues and during pregnancy
  • Calming effect on those with Alzheimer’s dementia
  • Cancer support for those undergoing active treatment
  • End-of-life support and comfort for patients & caregivers 

As an Advanced Holistic Nurse, my focus is on care of each person as a whole, as opposed to looking at a collection of diagnoses or symptoms. The body, mind, emotions and spirit are closely linked, and proper balance among these areas is essential for optimal health and wellness. My goal is to supplement, not replace, conventional medical care in order to support others in achieving their best health potential, facilitating their body’s own natural inner healing and restorative abilities.  

Cathleen Bonvento, RN, MS, AHN-BC, has a private practice in Reflexology & Reiki in Tarrytown and is also available for home visits. She is Board Certified as an Advanced Holistic Nurse. For more information visit, or contact her at or 914-844-5169. 


  1. Cath we need more people like you to bring the benefits of reflexology to the forefront of alternative and conventional care to the medical world…I commend you on this
    perfectly written article, I am so very proud of you…My love to you, Sande

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About the Author: Cathleen Bonvento