A new consciousness in health care is spreading through the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Take nurse Katie Anderson who is participating in the Donna Karan Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program, the newest effort to integrate holistic eastern modalities into Western medicine at UCLA.
The modalities used in the program include yoga therapy, nutrition, aromatherapy, Reiki (a Japanese vibrational energy therapy) and contemplative care. Symptoms treated include pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation and exhaustion.
The inspiration behind the program, by Donna Karan:
“Not a day goes by when a nurse or caretaker or patient doesn’t thank me for bringing [Urban Zen] to the hospital,” says Dr. David Feinberg, president of the UCLA Health System.
Urban Zen originated more than a decade ago, when fashion designer Donna Karan’s husband was suffering from lung cancer in New York and was offered no meditative therapies to help heal him through heart and spirit. After he died, Karan founded the Urban Zen Center and developed the integrative therapy program.
Ellen Wilson, director of therapy services at the medical center, says, “It’s been more widely accepted by our medical staff than I ever thought it would be. We’re such a traditional institution in approach to medicine, but there’s a lot more research to support the legitimacy of these techniques than there used to be.”
Urban Zen is now expanding to other institutions across the country. “Now that UCLA is doing it, everyone wants to,” says Feinberg.