Massage & Bodywork

July/August 2010

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'ROUND THE TABLE Volunteering at a local hospice was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. For a little more than two years, I would bring my chair to Rose Monahan Hospice Center and give 15-minute massages to staff, family, and friends. The staff, constantly "on," were involved in the intensely personal work of caring for the dying and their families. When they had a few minutes to come in for a massage, they would leave feeling re-energized and truly grateful. "I can finish the day! I so needed that! You're an angel!" Visitors and family members often kept vigil day and night. The nurses would convince them that it was OK to leave the bedside for 15 minutes. Once I invited people to let me care for them so that they could better care for their loved ones, most surrendered their bodies and minds and melted into the chair. Sometimes people would cry quietly, some emitted strangled sobs, some fell into a deep sleep. Always, there was immense gratitude and the miracles that go with comforting, through touch, those who mourn. JOANNE ETHIER PAXTON, MASSACHUSETTS Volunteering for hospice benefited me in many ways. The most important is the amount of compassion, empathy, and care I must have for each patient, even if I didn't know him or her. Naturally, I'm pretty sensitive, but that, combined with compassion and empathy, has made me a more successful massage therapist. Now I am able to show that same amount of compassion, empathy, and care toward my clients, making them relax easier and overall be more satisfied. My most special complement recently was a client who told me she could feel the compassion radiating off of me, even before the UPCOMING TOPICS DEADLINE PUBLICATION DATE How do you ease potential clients' insecurities about receiving massage? Have you ever had a client who was an "energy vampire"? Let us know how you overcame the situation. Tell us about the best massage you've ever given. Who was it for, when, and where? What made it special? August 15 Nov/Dec 2010 October 15 Jan/Feb 2011 December 15 Mar/Apr 2011 Please email your 'Round the Table submissions (200 words or less) to darren@abmp.com. Submission does not guarantee inclusion. Also, due to space constraints, your material may be edited. massage, and it made her massage much more enjoyable. I became a massage therapist so I could provide comfort to those in need, and hospice has made me more successful at doing so. It has not only made me a better massage therapist, but a better person as well. BRITTANY A. VALDES-PAGES DENVER, COLORADO In the early 1980s, I was a hospice massage volunteer when I learned about the Planetree research project delivering complementary health- care services along with conventional medicine within a major medical center. They hadn't built massage into the study, but accepted me as a volunteer to demonstrate its value. Two years later, I recruited and trained massage practitioners to create the Planetree Massage Therapy Service (PMTS). We became a daily presence offering caring touch to patients and stressed staff members wherever we found them: in bed, in chairs, hooked up to equipment, etc. By learning to adapt our work to the limitations of both connect with your colleagues on massageprofessionals.com 31 patients and physical surroundings, all the PMTS practitioners gained confidence and skills that enabled us to continue our work with other clients through all stages of their health. In addition to the personal growth and gratification of bringing massage into hospice and hospital, my private practice overflowed after the hospital referred a journalist to me for a massage and he named me in his nationally published article. Several years later, my parents were both in another hospital. My Planetree experience prepared me to be at ease with staff and the constraints of the settings. As I spent day after day going from one to the other, I felt staff accepting me on the care teams. This unanticipated benefit was a blessing. TEDI DUNN SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA

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