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'Code Lavender' offers stress relief for hospital workers

Over 450 M Health Fairview employees have experienced 'Code Lavender' during COVID-19 pandemic.

MINNEAPOLIS — As hospital workers deal with an unprecedented amount of anxiety and stress, M Health Fairview is ramping up a program aimed at helping them take care of themselves along the way.

It's called Code Lavender. 

"Code Lavender actually started at the Cleveland Clinic," says Dr. Lynn Gershan, a Pediatrician at Masonic Children's Hospital.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, eight M Health Fairview hospitals have been treated to a social-distanced version of acupressure and Oshibori.

"Oshibori means 'hot towel' in Japanese. We actually co-created a specific essential oil mixture that we used in the hot towel," Dr. Gershan says.

They also offer food and tools for grounding that hospital staff can bring with them. 

"We also gave out little aromatherapy inhalers so people could just keep them in their pocket," Dr. Gershan says. 

Dr. Gershan says over 450 people within the M Health Fairview system have now gone through Code Lavender. Everyone from nurses to security staff. 

"What I think it is is an experience of mindfulness. Of being in the moment," says Dr. Gershan. "All the things around me can still be happening but I can be mindful and be here."

Dr. Gershan says they've finished their first round of Code Lavender at the eight locations and are getting set to return for a second wave.

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