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74 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k j a n u a r y/ fe b r u a r y 2 0 24 Palliative Care: A Step in a Similar Direction for MTs By Cal Cates The most common reason people become massage therapists is the desire to help people. Other top reasons are the flexible hours, the variety of clients, and the uniqueness of each session. What if I told you none of that has to change when you expand your massage therapy skills into the palliative care space? You could ease the suffering of your fellow humans in a variety of settings. You could continue to have f lexibility in how and where you work. You could expand your work in your community, work in people's homes, or in hospitals and clinics. And you could make a measurable difference in the lives of people living with chronic and serious illnesses. This is what it's like to be a massage therapist with palliative care skills. The way I look at it, palliative care is like chocolate. Everything goes with chocolate, right? Most massage therapists are surprised to learn that their brand, technique, and approach to massage therapy already work with palliative care. It's simply a way to grow what you do and the kind of support you can offer. Palliative care is an added layer of support for people living with chronic or serious illness. (It's not hospice. We'll address that another time.) Palliative care enhances a person's current care by focusing on quality of life for them and their family. 1 Isn't that what you do already? You are not the only health-care provider that your clients see. Most of your clients get some care from someone else, whether it's primary care, chiropractic care, or physical therapy. Your work enhances that care, even if you never hear about it or don't think about it. BUILDING AWARENESS There are millions of people in the US who aren't benefiting from palliative care, in large part because they don't know it exists or what it could do for them. Still, others are simply exhausted by the idea of "one more doctor's appointment." But what if they could start their palliative journey with you? People living with diabetes, lung disease, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression, anxiety, or other mental health challenges, or people recovering from a stroke may find their way to your table and could benefit from the skills of a palliative-trained massage therapist. Palliative care is not a new path. It's a broader path. With the right training, you can invite many people into a type of care they never imagined, with little (if any) change to the techniques you already use in your massage practice. When people are diagnosed with a serious illness, they report a marked decrease in satisfaction with the critical thinking | Massage Therapy as Health Care KEY POINT • Palliative care is an added layer of support for people living with chronic or serious illness. It enhances people's care by offering quality of life for them and their family. And your touch can make a difference in all their lives. DANIE FRANKO/UNSPL ASH

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