• herbal therapies;
  • holistic care;
  • narratives;
  • rehabilitation;
  • stroke patients;
  • Thai massage

Aims and objectives.  To document the narratives of nursing staff in a Thai rehabilitation centre where complementary therapies are used and to discuss perceived progress of these complementary therapies on stroke patients. Specific complementary therapies used at this rehabilitation centre include Thai massage and herbal therapies.

Background.  In Thailand, there is cultural acknowledgement of a range of traditional therapies (including complementary therapies) widely used in Thai health care. For example, meditation enjoys wide acceptance in Thai culture and attracts strong participation from visitors to Thai Buddhist centres because of growing interest in developing a personal health regime for future preventative health problems.

Design.  Qualitative study using narrative inquiry and discourse analysis framed by poststructural theory.

Method.  Six nursing staff and six stroke patients were interviewed about their involvement in complementary therapy practice and treatments and their experiences of these therapies in rehabilitation. This paper reports the six nurses’ narratives of their involvement with patients and complementary therapies.

Results.  The overall findings revealed two strong themes: nurses’ professional landscape and changes in stroke patients’ embodiment. These two themes were interwoven in a main discourse of nurses attending to and enabling holistic care.

Conclusion.  The contexts of temporality, spatiality and other people influencing the progress of patients’ recovery are significant in this study. In particular, the findings illustrate the importance of the nurses’ discourse in preparing stroke patients for a state of readiness to heal.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The nurses’ role becomes much more significant in health care as demonstrated through these stories. Their part in establishing a holistic approach through motivating, advising, educating, calming and imparting a sense of family enables a strong connection with mind, body and spirit potentiating recovery for stroke patients.