Life inspires transformation. Often, major illnesses such as cancer become a wakeup call to attend to something that is missing in our life. A diagnosis of cancer can stop us in our tracks. Requiring us to shift so many gears in life that we discover what once was normal is forever changed.
Not surprisingly, our clients in their efforts to regain a sense of normalcy will forget or neglect to share with us that they have a history of cancer; or that they are receiving treatments. What are we to do when this information comes out while they are lying on our massage table? How do we respond? Do we become overly concerned and begin to rethink our work, wondering if we may have harmed them in some way? Do we find ourselves overwhelmed with grief or pity for the person, which shifts the focus of the session away from our client and onto our self? Or, are we able to find a balance in being present with this new information and mindful of how we need to make accommodations to support their healing process?
Working with a person who is living with cancer, regardless of where they are in their journey, may be extremely challenging yet is also extremely rewarding. It asks us to shift our own way of being with clients. Instead of examining just their disease we open to see more of who they are as a person. Instead of pathologizing, we work to humanize their massage experience by helping them feel better. Instead of fearing what we do or how we should do it, we embrace the whole of this person and come to understand that they too shape us. We are partners with them in their healing.
Massage for People Living with Cancer © offers an opportunity to explore your relationship in working with those living with cancer while giving you necessary tools to work skillfully and with compassion. We will review major treatment methods and their side effects and learn how to make bodywork accommodations. We will also learn how to work with someone who is at risk for lymphedema. The culminating experience will be to provide a comfort oriented massage session with a person living with cancer. Click here for more information or to register for a course.