Grief Massage: A Much Needed Modality

Dawn Edge, RPh, LMT Opens up about Grief Massage and explains some of the Mystery Behind this Much-Needed Modality. 

 This week I sat down with Dawn Edge, a Massage Therapist and Instructor at Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage; while she explained the mystery behind Grief Massage and how it can help people find healing after loss. 

Many people are hesitant around the subject of grief. It’s one of those emotions that we all go through yet is hard to talk about. Many people feel ashamed or embarrassed about feeling such strong emotions and being vulnerable around other people, which is why Grief Massage is such an important step in the healing process. Grief Massage gives you the space needed to process your emotions and allows you to grieve freely, without judgement. Dawn describes the process of Grief Massage as a relaxing massage that calms down the nervous system; it is gentle, but firm. 

Grief is painful, and the healing process is personal and unique to each individual. The Therapist can tend to that pain and hopefully prevent the client from suffering through the grief longer than is necessary. Grief Massage allows the nervous system to reset and helps calm down the emotions that have been pushed aside, numbed, or neglected. Grief Massage can help you heal from so many different losses in life, big or small; It can be anything from the death of a loved one, the loss of a friendship, to the loss of a pet or even a job. Any loss in life is significant and it depends on the client and their needs. Grief Massage is important for those who have had an immediate loss or a series of losses that have happened over many years but have not yet been dealt with or given the proper time to heal. 

When I was speaking with Dawn, she opened up about her own personal journey through grief and how hesitant she was at first, to become a Grief Massage Therapist. 

“When I myself was trying to process my own grief, I turned inward; it wasn’t until I started sharing that grief with others that I was able to work through it and begin to heal.” 

There is something healing about sharing our grief with others; it unburdens us and allows others to help us carry the load. People need validation and a shared experience in their grief and being around people who have been through similar things can provide comfort, and help the griever feel that they are not alone. After several years of working through her own grief, Dawn had come to a point where she was ready to offer healing to others. 

“We can’t help other people heal if we aren’t healed ourselves. One of the signs was that I couldn’t talk about it before without crying, but now I can speak openly about my grief and help others heal from theirs.”

Dawn says that one of the most rewarding parts about offering Grief Massage is the difference from when the client comes into the session to how they appear after the session is over. 

“The difference in the client’s appearance and how they act is like night and day. I had a client come into a session like they had a great weight on their shoulders. Their head was down, their shoulders were rounded, and their posture was bad; but after the session was over, they were standing up tall and straight and their eyes looked clearer. It was like the world had been lifted off their shoulders and they could finally breathe again. 

People feel like they need permission from someone to grieve and having the space to do this can be a relief in itself.”

For those of you wondering what a Grief Massage entails, I wanted to share a glimpse of what your session might look like. When I went in for my session, I was greeted warmly by my therapist. The first few minutes were spent going over anything I wanted to discuss, giving me the option of going into detail about my grief, or simply choosing to stay silent. It all depends on where you are at and what you are ready or not ready to talk about. The time before the massage is also spent doing a mental body scan, which is just a simple meditation that focuses on how you feel in your body. It is a great way to become grounded before your massage begins. After this short discussion and check-in with your body, the Therapist leaves the room while you get settled on the massage table. The Therapist spends the next hour with you, providing a caring hand and intentional movements that focus on bringing calmness to your nervous system. The movements are slow, intentional, and gentle. I was surprised at how the movements were gentle but also firm, so you can feel the loving presence of the Therapists hands. During the session, there is soft music playing that helps the client relax fully, while there is enough silence and space to process emotions that had been neglected or pushed aside. After my session I felt relaxed, calm, and focused. 

For those of you who are interested in becoming a Grief Massage Therapist, the Instructor will be back at Bodymechanics in September to offer another class. 

For those of you who are interested in booking a session with Dawn, you can reach out to her through the link here: Grief Massage — Divine Lightning Dreamwork

Written by: Melissa Robbins