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96 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k j u l y/a u g u s t 2 0 2 3 FACES OF BODYWORK Kerry Jordan Massage & Bodywork: Can you tell us about the work you do in hospitals? Kerry Jordan: Working with patients in the hospital is a unique experience. It makes it clear to me that my hands are possibly the least valuable part of my work as I talk with other providers and connect with patients in the most basic, human ways to ease their suffering. I certainly touch them, and that is sort of the gateway to our connection, but over and over patients report that their experiences have been of feeling less lonely, more seen, and simply cared for. M&B: For practitioners who might be considering work with palliative care patients, can you share the highs and lows? KJ: When I started working with people affected by chronic and serious illnesses, I found a style of work that required me to show up fully and authentically every minute. For me, that's the best. But it's also hard. So, I guess my answer is that the highs and lows of working with palliative care patients are two sides of the same coin. Palliative care isn't hospice. I've worked with some palliative care patients for years. But death is something that feels closer for many people who'd qualify for palliative care. That can be scary for anyone, and it can be especially hard if you (the practitioner) haven't snuggled up with your own mortality. Every time I work with a palliative care patient, I remember it's a simple twist of fate that I'm the "healthy" provider and this other person is the "sick" patient. PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAL CATES ▲ Arlington, Virginia ▲ Studied oncology massage therapy with Tracy Walton ▲ Operations director at Healwell ( As the operations director for Healwell, Kerry is most proud of having connections with even more people by supporting massage therapists. Read more about Kerry and those connections at posts/faces-bodywork-kerry-jordan.

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