Holistic Occupational Therapy,  Integrative Medicine

Emmy’s Musings and Spring Update 2017

It’s been a little while since my last blog post. It has been a full beginning to the new year in 2017!

I am fortunate to have been asked to create an online course for the American Occupational Therapy Association on “Occupational Therapy with Complementary Health Approaches and Integrative Health.” This came about after petitioning them with the Holistic OT Community requesting that they offer more continuing education courses on these topics. I spent most of the end of December and all of January, in between client sessions, creating this course.

Integrative Medicine is being utilized by more people in recent years. For example, there are twice as many people in the United States practicing yoga now than there were in 2002, according to the 2012 National Health Survey Interview, and about 59 million Americans spend money out-of-pocket on complementary health approaches – adding up to $30.2 billion a year.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health dropped the term “alternative” from its title a couple of years ago, because so many approaches that have been considered alternative have research demonstrating efficacy, and are becoming more utilized in the mainstream by the general public and health care practitioners.

I am grateful for this progress, but sometimes am still amazed at how long it takes for change to occur.

Emmy Vadnais, OTR/L with Tauni Malmgren, OTS

In February, I had a special visitor, Tauni Malmgren. She has been helping assist the social media and marketing efforts of the Holistic OT Community. She was just accepted in to occupational therapy school. I am so happy and proud of her. She will make an excellent OT!

In early March, I guest lectured to occupational therapy students at Ithaca College in New York on Complementary and Integrative Health in practice. It was a joy to see their enthusiasm for these topics and their willingness to embrace how beneficial they can be in health care.

It is clear to me that our health care system needs to reprioritize it focus to prevention and wellness. It is estimated that 75% of our billions of health care costs are on diseases such as heart disease and diabetes that can largely be prevented, according to Dean Ornish, M.D. Ornish has a Medicare approved lifestyle program with research demonstrating it can help prevent and in many cases reverse heart disease and diabetes.

Our heath care system in the U.S. is primarily a profit-making business that, sadly, makes money when people are not well. How can we focus on prevention if this is the case? This is why I went in to private practice and am currently not seeking reimbursement from insurance companies.

I am continuing to teach many Integrative Medicine courses, providing consultation to health care practitioners to begin their own private practices – many who are burnt out, and providing individual sessions.

The magazine I wrote for where I had a “Holistic OT” column no longer exists. I am grateful to have had that platform for nearly five years, sharing efficacy-based Integrative Medicine approaches. It’s a good thing I kept a record of all of the articles here. I may create a book out of these as a manual for health care practitioners, or maybe a text book.

This also gives me time to get back to some of my other projects I’ve been working on. I am revisiting my Intuitive Development book and will be professionally recording my meditations, to accompany it, this spring.

I have been reading books by a few leaders in Mind-Body medicine, and it is validating what I have been learning in my individual client sessions – that relaxed focused attention, imagery and meditation are essential for healing transformation to occur, and that love and healthy relationships with ourselves and others are the greatest predictor of our health and happiness throughout life. This Harvard study verifies this. 

Thank you to all of you are who are teaching me this on my path of my own personal and self development. Please let me know if I can help you on your journey. I am happy to assist!


Emmy Vadnais, OTR/L has over 20 years experience providing Holistic, Integrative Health, Wellness and Prevention Care in a variety of settings. She is a Holistic Occupational Therapist, Intuitive Healer, Health Coach, teacher, consultant, and writer. She provides holistic and integrative healthcare and intuitive development education to healthcare practitioners and organizations. She is the founder of the Holistic OT Community and is in private practice in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is available for individual sessions, tutoring, classes, and consulting. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Visit her websites at EmmyVadnais.com and HolisticOT.org.

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