CARE Team:

Integrative Medicine – Wellness

CARE Team Awareness Day

After ten years of service to patients and staff, the first CARE Team Awareness Day, held on May 12, 2015 in the Day Surgery lobby, was very well received and approved to be a quarterly event. The next CARE Team Awareness Day is scheduled for September 15.

CARE Team invites staff, patients, community members to join us and observe or experience some of what CARE Team has to offer as well as meet some of the CARE Team staff on Tuesday, September 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Day Surgery lobby.

Holy Cross Hospital is pleased to offer Integrative Health Services to in-patients. These services combine traditional medical treatment with complementary or alternative therapies to help patients heal faster and feel better. These therapies create a healing experience that encompasses mind, body, and spirit.

These safe and gentle healing therapies have been shown to reduce anxiety and pain while enhancing the body's own healing processes. All services are evidence-based; they have been tested and proven safe by research and experience. Treatments are optional, and are offered in addition to treatment from your doctor at no extra cost to you.

Who provides these services?

Services are provided by the Holy Cross Hospital CARE Team, registered nurses who focus on delivering complementary health services with Compassion, Attention, Respect, and Empathy.

What benefits do integrative health services promote?

Faster healing time – Improved circulation - Relaxation - Reduced swelling - Restorative sleep - Better pain control - Decreased muscular tension - Enhanced coping skills - Increased sense of well-being

What Services are offered by the CARE Team?


Reiki is a complementary health approach in which practitioners place their hands lightly on or just above a person, with the goal of facilitating the person’s own healing response. Reiki is based on an Eastern belief in an energy that supports the body’s innate or natural healing abilities.

Reiki complements and enhances all types of medical treatment. It is considered an integrative modality of healing and works in harmony with all other forms of healing. It is now used in hospitals, medical centers and hospice programs.

Source:  Reiki: What You Need To Know. NCCAM Pub no.: D315, April 2006; Last Updated: September 2014 John (Jack) Killen, JR., M.D., NCCAM. Web. 1/12/15


Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants (flowers, herbs, or trees) as a complementary therapy to improve physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. This practice has been around for thousands of years with a renewed interest and popularity since the late 20th century. Essential oils such as Roman chamomile, geranium, or lavender are the basic materials of aromatherapy.

Source: Aromatherapy and Essential Oils. National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. December 17, 2014. Web. 1/12/15. 

Energy Work (Energy Healing Techniques)

The goal of Energy Work is to assess and resolve disturbances in the Human Energy Field caused by a wide variety of sensory and life experiences. There are many different types of healing that fall under the category of Energy Healing. While the methods employed in the different types of energy therapy vary, they all subscribe to the notion that the body’s energy has a positive or negative effect on the body’s healing energy capabilities.

Source: What is Energy Healing? Copyright 2012 Energy Healing Source.Web. 1/12/15.


Reflexology is based on the theory that reflex points, located in the feet, hands, or ears, are linked to various organs and parts of the body. According to this theory, stimulation of these points is thought to affect the connected organ or body part. By stimulating the reflex points, reflexologists claim that they can relieve a wide variety of health problems and promote well-being and relaxation. The practitioner will apply gentle pressure to the hands and feet which stimulates the body’s central nervous system creating improved circulation and relaxation. Reflexology is not meant to diagnose or treat disease. It is meant to be a complimentary therapy that helps the body to rebalance itself naturally.

Source: What does the Research Say about Reflexology? Karen Teagarden, BA, ARCB and Donna L. Morris, DrPH, CNM, NBCR. 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota and Charlson Meadows. Web. 1/12/15. 

Feldenkrais Method®

The Feldenkrais Method® was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) and is a sophisticated method of learning through movement and developing awareness of self and movement habits. The continuous improvement of movement leads to the experience of improved life quality. Exploring and experiencing movement through precise and non-habitual movements in a structured, functional way allows for differences to be perceived not only by observation from the participant, but also by recognition of differences by the nervous system. New patterns are discovered through awareness and more functional movements replace older patterns that no longer serve. "Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself."  Moshe Feldenkrais

Recommended reading for further information on the Feldenkrais Method®:
The Brain's Way of Healing, Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity, by Norman Doidge, MD.

More information can also be found at the Guild website.

Foot and Hand Massage

Foot massage has been practiced in many cultures for centuries to promote health and well-being. Today, massage is considered a complementary and alternative medicine used by millions to relieve pain, reduce stress and anxiety, rehabilitate injuries and boost general health. The practitioner will apply gentle pressure to the hands and feet which stimulates the body’s central nervous system creating improved circulation and relaxation.

Source: Foot Massage Benefits.By Grace Covelli. Jan 13, 2014. 1/12/15. 

Empathic Listening

Empathic listening (also called active listening or reflective listening) is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding and trust. It enables the listener to receive and accurately interpret the speaker's message, and then provide an appropriate response.

Source: Empathic Listening By Richard Salem. Copyright 2003-2010 The Beyond Intractability Project: Registered Trademark of the University of Colorado. Web. 1/12/15.


Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being. Mind and body practices focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior.

Source: Meditation: What You Need To Know. NCCAM Pub No.: D404.December 2007. Updated November 2014. Web. 1/12/15.

Guided Imagery

Guided Imagery is a relaxation technique with a goal to consciously produce the body’s natural relaxation response, characterized by slower breathing, lower blood pressure, and a feeling of calm and well-being.

Source: Guided Imagery 2015 rights reserved. May 31, 2013. Web. 1/12/15. 

Music Therapy

Hospitalization can result not only in physical stress from invasive treatments and therapies, but emotional stress as well from unexpected news, unfamiliar environments, inability to conduct normal activities and lack of control. Music therapy in the medical setting provides patients a familiar and positive way to cope with their hospitalization.

Source: Music Therapy in Hospitals 2005-2015 Music As Medicine. University Hospitals of Cleveland. Web. 1/12/15. 

To learn more, please ask one of your providers to connect you with a CARE Team member or call (575) 751-8942.

Wellness Tips

Meditation For Health

Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being. Many studies have been conducted to look at how meditation may be helpful for a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, certain psychological disorders, and pain. A number of studies also have helped researchers learn how meditation might work and how it affects the brain.

Five things to know about what the science says about meditation for health:

1. For people who suffer from cancer symptoms and treatment side effects, mind-body therapies, such as meditation, have been shown to help relieve anxiety, stress, fatigue, and general mood and sleep disturbances, thus improving their quality of life. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines from the Society for Integrative Oncology recommend meditation, as well as other mind-body modalities, as part of a multidisciplinary approach to reduce anxiety, mood disturbance, chronic pain, and improve quality of life.

2. There is some evidence that meditation may reduce blood pressure. A literature review and scientific statement from the American Heart Association suggests that evidence supports the use of Transcendental Meditation as an adjunct or complementary therapy along with standard treatment to lower blood pressure.

3. A growing body of evidence suggests that meditation-based programs may be helpful in reducing common menopausal symptoms. A 2010 review of scientific literature found that yoga, tai chi, and meditation-based programs may be helpful in reducing common menopausal symptoms including the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, sleep and mood disturbances, stress, and muscle and joint pain.

4. There is moderate evidence that meditation improves symptoms of anxiety. A 2014 review of the literature found that mindfulness meditation programs had moderate evidence of improved anxiety, depression, and pain, and low evidence of improved stress/distress and mental health-related quality of life.

5. Meditation is generally considered to be safe for healthy people. However, people with physical limitations may not be able to participate in certain meditative practices involving movement.

Meet the CARE Team

Melissa Petty

After working in the corporate world for 25 years Melissa Petty realized the importance of living a mindful and holistic lifestyle. Relocating to a more “conscious” community in 2003 to Taos, NM, she developed a stronger interest and drive. This was furthered in 2013 after suffering from a herniated disk and the resulting chronic back pain. And so began her focused and holistic healing path.

Melissa acted on her dream of practicing good health, while helping others to do the same, through example and teaching. To reach this goal she created a plan of education in different modalities. In the spring of 2013, she entered the Yoga Teacher Training program at UNM-Taos and completed her RYT 200 in May 2014. While studying for this she achieved certification as a Nurse Assistant (CNA), an Aroma Therapist and member of Holy Cross Hospital CARE Team, practicing Integrative Medicine Therapies.

Currently Melissa is a Unit Care Specialist in the Medical Surgical Unit at Holy Cross Hospital. She is also apprenticing at the Santosha Yoga Studio, under master teachers Kirstie Segarra, Alana Grier, and Rob Stewart. She is also enrolled in the Holistic Health and Healing Arts program at UNM-Taos which will she will complete in the Spring 2015. From there she intends to pursue her Wellness Coach Certification. A healthy holistic lifestyle for Melissa now includes yoga, nutrition, Ayurveda, exercise and meditation and finding opportunities to learn and grow while encouraging others to do the same.

Dionne Bilal

Walter Brennan

Liz Fruits

Facing serious health issues can be daunting. A Health Awareness Coach can provide a neutral set of eyes and ears to help you focus, prioritize, and decide what to do to feel better. After going through the hospice process with her own father, Liz Fruits enrolled in nursing school, where she precepted in Oncology and earned her RN.

In 2006, she began working as a Medical/Surgical nurse and member of inpatient CARE team at Holy Cross Hospital. In 1997, after four years of training, she became a Guild-Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™, which influences the way she sees movement, recovery from injuries and illness, and how individuals create their own healing paths.

As a Health Awareness Coach, she helps you raise awareness of current health goals and navigate the different healing modalities available to you. She provides support in a safe, nonjudgmental atmosphere of understanding and empathy. After an assessment, three sessions are provided.

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer was born in New Mexico and raised in Durango Colorado. She's lived in the Taos area for the last nine years. Jennifer became a nurse in mid 2015, and now provides care on the medical surgical floor at holy cross hospital.

Jennifer has  been practicing energy work since she was a teenager.  She provides teaching about nutrition, herbology, aromatherapy, and she is a flower essence practitioner. Jennifer joined the care team  in 2015 and has really been enjoying providing energy balancing, aromatherapy, empathic listening and massage to  inpatient hospital clients.


Kathleen Lawton

Kathleen has worked at Holy Cross as a medical surgical and recovery nurse for 5 years. She has a degree in outdoor education as well as nursing. She has attended Crestone Healing Arts School and is currently enrolled in a year meditation course.

Kat has lived mostly in the Taos area for the last 12 years; she loves the open spaces in Taos and connecting with people from all walks of life. In her spare time she likes to do anything outside including running, skiing, biking, hiking, backpacking, and boating.


Jodi Mason

Jodi is a Clinical Lab Scientist and has recently become a licensed Doctor of Oriental Medicine in the State of New Mexico. She practiced as an Acupuncturist in Colorado for many years before moving to Taos.

Jodi has studied Eastern/Western Herbology, Massage, Qi Going, and Energy Healing. She became a member of the Holy Cross Hospital CARE Team in April of this year and enjoys working with patients to facilitate healing with integrative health therapies.


Carol Weaver

Carol grew up in Northern Indian in Mennonite/Amish country. Shegraduated in 1975 with a BSN from Indiana University. All of Carol's nursing career was in Labor & Delivery. In 1995,  she graduated from the Massage Therapy Program at The Desert Institute of the Healing Arts in Tucson, AZ and has been working as a Licensed Massage Therapist since then.

Carol has a 28 year old son and a 24 year old daughter. She enjoy's hiking around Taos and play her cello a couple times a week with a motley crew of other aspiring musicians.


CARE Council Members

Alana Grier

Alana Grier LMT, RYT, teaches for UNM-Taos' Yoga Instructor and Holistic  Health Programs. 

Through her wellness business, 365 Days Of Wellness, she facilitates online and onsite wellness programs for groups and individuals. She teaches Hatha Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation at Santosha Yoga Studio in Taos.



Dr. Kirstie Segarra

Dr. Segarra is a Doctor of Integrative Medicine and specializes in chronic pain, arthritis, scoliosis, fibromyalgia and pre/post partum work. She is Chair of Integrative Health & Medical Massage at the University of New Mexico-Taos, where she co-founded the UNM-Taos Teacher Training Program and founded the Integrative Massage Therapy Program.

She brings her 20 years of experience as a bodyworker, Licensed Massage Therapist, and Yoga Therapist. She is passionate about the field of integrative medicine and working with the community in this field.

For info visit her website.