Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2017

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A B M P m e m b e r s e a r n F R E E C E a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e b y r e a d i n g M a s s a g e & B o d y w o r k m a g a z i n e 71 this work, we need excellent grief massage training courses and resources. Training other massage therapists and sharing my own experiences has become my passion. Honoring the Human Experience Working with many massage therapists from across the United States, I have found there is a deep calling to serve bereaved clients. Massage therapists can create an important body-oriented shift in the way our society approaches care for the grieving. We can make a real difference. Consider learning more about grief and massage. Seek out other experienced teachers such as Lyn Prashant (www.degriefing.com) or Mary Kathleen Rose (www.comforttouch.com). Listen to my "Grief Massage Conversations" podcast, learn about the physical effects of grief, develop confidence in the benefits of massage, train to add grief massage to your own practice, or start volunteering in your community. Grief is part of the human experience— something we will all eventually work through. Learning to create space and comfort for grief is part of creating cultural change. By offering massage therapy as simple physical comfort for grief, we can honor the experience of loss, honor those we have lost, and find solidarity in our common humanity. Notes 1. Berit S. Cronfalk, Britt-Marie Ternestedt, and Peter Strang, "Soft Tissue Massage: Early Intervention for Relatives whose Family Members Died in Palliative Care," Journal of Clinical Nursing 19, no. 7–8 (April 2010): 1040–8. 2. Brian Luke Seaward, "Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being," 8th ed. (Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2014). Aimee Joy Taylor has been a licensed massage therapist since 2007 and is the creator of the grief massage modality. Taylor offers NCBTMB- approved courses on grief massage. For more information, visit www.griefmassage.org. A MOTHER'S GRIEF— PRACTITIONER AND CLIENT Massage therapist Shannon Brooks participated in the first Massage Therapy Foundation-funded program at The Respite, and she learned firsthand how beneficial the work can be. "After the loss of my daughter Skylar in 2010, I was devastated and grieving all the moments I would never get to experience with my baby girl," Brooks said. "Getting a massage was not a priority for me, as I attempted to deal with all the heavy emotions that were dragging me deeper. Luckily, I had friends who were massage therapists, and they convinced me of the importance of getting manual work to help me feel better and begin my healing. "When I was in a deep state of grief, my whole body hurt. I couldn't focus or even try to process my emotions because I was physically hurting. A massage would transform my day. It didn't take away my grief or stop my tears, but it did help me deal with my loss because I was able to relax, release tension, and acknowledge my emotions without being distracted by my aching body. "At The Respite, there were no expectations. People felt safe to relax even if it was just for an hour. It was truly an honor to give a grief massage to someone who had lost a loved one and to walk beside them on their own journey of grief and hope. For me, I believe that my grief journey will be lifelong, but I also believe that through helping others I am healing and transforming my life. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of such an amazing organization that made such a difference in so many lives."

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