Today, I want to switch gears from what I usually talk about on this blog, which is usually our treatment based approach to bodywork. Today, though, I want to talk about different modalities in the massage profession and how my life has been impacted through these modalities.

Before I became a massage therapist I worked for a home health & hospice agency. Hospice has always been near to my heart. In fact, I am still involved in hospice serving as a member of the Board of Directors for the Visiting Nurse Foundation.

After I graduated from massage school, I became a Comfort Therapist for Assured Home Health & Hospice for over a year and helped 6 hospice patients get increased relaxation and decreased pain through massage. It was very rewarding for me and it was a nice balance to the typical session I offered in my office. I remember one patient particularly who I visited early in the morning on the day she passed away. I stroked her cheeks, forehead and scalp for 45 minutes. She was in a coma at that time and her family surrounded the bed and were talking about her and her life. She smiled every couple of minutes and I sensed that she was comforted by them and the work I was doing.

When I learned later that she had passed away that day, I wasn’t sad. I felt blessed that I was able to provide comfort for her and her family. I was welcomed into a very special time in their family and I was appreciated for helping her transition.

Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage has graduated many therapists who wanted to specialize in hospice massage, including a Medical Doctor who serves as the medical director for a local hospice agency; several Registered Nurses, CNA’s and those who feel a calling to work with hospice patients. Like I said, this type of work is very near and dear to my heart.

A couple of weeks ago, my 25-year-old nephew was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) and was transported to OHSU in Portland for treatment. This is a very treatable form of Leukemia, yet very scary for the first month of treatment.

He was diagnosed with Differentiation Syndrome in the first couple of days of admission which required a 30-hour stay in the ICU on high oxygen and massive diuretics to rid his body of the excess fluids that were taking up residence in his lungs. There was talk of intubation if his body hadn’t responded to treatment quickly. When I say it was scary for all of us there, I’m not exaggerating.

My nephew still has a couple of weeks left of inpatient care and will then be discharged for 5 months of treatment closer to home and will get chemo five days a week for the duration of treatment. We were encouraged today with the doctor saying there “was a light at the end of the tunnel” in regards to his inpatient stay. He’s not out of the woods just yet, but he’s much closer than he was just one week ago.

This morning, I was able to give my nephew a gentle massage and stretch his legs which have become very restless and sore with so much sitting and laying in bed. Because of a virus that is rampant in Portland, visitors have to put on a mask, gown and gloves to enter rooms of patients receiving chemo.

School owner Shari providing massage to her nephew who has leukemia
School owner Shari providing massage to her nephew who has leukemia

Even with gloves, massage is possible and for the most part, clients can’t tell the difference.

I could feel my nephew relaxing and his breathing became much deeper as I massaged his back.  With a leukemia diagnosis, the protocol for massage is very gentle.  We are applying lotion for relaxation purposes only as bruising would occur if deep pressure was used.  Again, I felt blessed to be able to use my passion for massage to bring relief to someone who’s body is being ravaged by cancer.

Massage is very accepted in this setting and my nephew has been visited by massage staff of the hospital on a couple of other occasions.

Our education philosophy is very conducive to working with a variety of populations from cancer massage to sports massage to medical massage.  Knowledge gained through anatomy, physiology and pathologies will prepare the graduates to be able to work confidently with most conditions they encounter.

What are your goals with massage?  Have you considered exactly the type of client you want to work with?  I am confident that we can help you gain the knowledge to best serve the population you envision in your practice.

Thumbs up to you and your career goals!
Thumbs up to you and your career goals!

Classes are starting soon and we have a spot for you!  If you have a strong desire to start this program, let me help you figure out the rest of it and lets get you started.
Call us at (360) 350-0015, option 2 and see how we can help you get the career of your dreams, while earning a better than average salary.

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