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TECHNIQUE EXPLANATION Presence Presence is "the capacity to be fully there with a quality of attention and authenticity." A massage therapist who is present is fully engaged in the moment and not distracted by personal bias or other obligations. Mindful body practices, including breathing deeply and exhaling slowly, may help nurses to cultivate "compassionate intention." Body orientation Maintaining an open stance with good posture demonstrates that the MT is grounded, open, and not guarded. Arms, hands, and legs should be uncrossed and accessible. Standing diagonally to the side of someone is less confrontational than standing directly in front of the person. Be cognizant of the power differential created by who is standing up and who is sitting down. Many people, including children, may engage in conversation more openly if they are communicated with rather than "talked down to." Eye contact Eye contact can demonstrate active listening. Take cues regarding comfort with eye contact from the family and from the person with whom you are speaking. Be aware that in some cultures, direct eye contact can communicate disrespect. With children, however, eye contact does not necessarily equate to listening; a child may be listening intently without making eye contact. Facial expression Entire conversations can be communicated through facial expressions. A compassionate expression communicates sincerity when offering a condolence. A gentle smile may serve to acknowledge a memorable story about the deceased. Touch Observe cultural considerations and family norms. If appropriate, begin with a light touch on the forearm, elbow, or shoulder to gauge the family member's responsiveness to touch and establish your physical accessibility. If the family member reaches out, offering a hug or holding a hand may be a form of consolation. MTs should ask permission before hugging children or spouses/partners. Nonverbal Communication Techniques 4 62 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k n o v e m b e r / d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 9

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