Former New Yorker Diane Schmidt found her true home and calling when she visited Minnesota.
Schmidt was born and raised in the city that never sleeps, but her life changed in 1988 when she decided to follow her parents and sister to Woodbury.
“New York was wonderful in so many ways,” Schmidt said. “But if you’re looking for something deeper, it’s just a different attitude that Minnesotans have.”
Minnesota’s outdoor culture felt refreshing and offered a higher-quality of life, Schmidt said. The abundance of bike paths, lakes, outdoor recreational activities and simple friendliness are the reasons she’s developed a passion for helping people stay healthy.
“Minnesota truly does address health and wellness,” she said. “People connect with each other and it’s all ages of being active and healthy.”
In that spirit, Schmidt has dedicated her life to providing integrative care to seniors and caregivers through healing touch therapy.
She started out volunteering at Woodwinds Health Campus (previously known as Woodwinds Hospital) in Woodbury when it opened in 2000. Each month, a different department would explain their needs and where volunteers were needed.
“One time, the Director of Integrative Care talked about healing touch and it sparked something,” Schmidt said.
Healing Touch Therapy is a form of integrative care that uses energy and touch to help patients balance their spiritual, physical and emotional wellness. When the Integrative Care Department offered a level 1 class in healing touch, Schmidt immediately signed up.
“It was such an amazing experience,” Schmidt said. “They treat the body and the mind and the spirit and the emotion to bring balance to the body.”
Schmidt went on to receive her certification in Healing Touch, where she learned how to care for patients using healing touch therapy, massage and essential oils. In 2015, Schmidt decided to start her own healing touch practice part-time — “Care For You, Body, Mind, Spirit.”
“Integrative care will address the physical as well as spiritual,” she said. “It’s hugely beneficial for many that have different pain issues.”
Schmidt continued to volunteer at Woodwinds Health Campus using healing touch to bring comfort to cancer patients. In July of 2017, she started working as a part-time integrative care therapist at Woodbury Senior Living, an assisted living center for seniors.
“It was a wonderful way to connect on a deeper level with seniors,” Schmidt said. “They were sleeping better, and their pain did lessen.”
Schmidt would often invite caregivers and family to stay with residents during their sessions and began to notice the positive impacts her care would leave on them as well.
“They would feel the effects of the calmness in the room,” Schmidt said. “That was when I felt how important caring for, supporting and teaching self-care for the caregiver was.”
Her practice and passion for others grew and in September 2018, she decided to dedicate full-time to her practice. In addition, Schmidt is working on her book “Care for the Caregiver”, a book that helps caregivers identify signs before they burn out and know the different integrative care services available to them.
“I would like to show them techniques, so they can take care of themselves,” Schmidt said. “They do so much. It’s so important to bring that balance back to that person.”
In the end, integrative care isn’t just for seniors and caregivers. Regardless of our age or profession, taking care of our minds and bodies is something everyone should do, Schmidt said.
“(Integrative care) is important in all stages in life whether it’s advanced age or a chronic illness or chemotherapy,” she said. “It truly is a wholesome relationship. That’s why I’m so passionate about it.”
Andrea Magaña is a regulator contributor to Face Aging MN. If you want to reach her or have any questions, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have your own story to share? We’d love to hear from you.