Lessons from the Dying: My First Memorable Lesson

Lessons from the Dying: My First Memorable Lesson

While End of Life Care may not always be physically demanding, the emotional and spiritual challenges can be overwhelming. My goal in offering these short segments is to engage your thinking about hospice massage and how it has influenced you.  This 4-week series, Lessons from the Dying, starts with My First Memorable Lesson. The next three weeks will include: Deep Listening, Keeping Relationships Current, and Honoring the Moment. 

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Bodywork in End of Life Care

Bodywork in End of Life Care

“What is it like to die?” She asked after I shared that I am a bodyworker who specializes in oncology massage and end of life care. “I don’t know. I haven’t died yet!” I quipped a bit off handed. This immediately generated a round of shared laughter. While this brief interaction was with a stranger at a mindfulness class many people will ask this question of family and caregivers as they are dying.

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My first hospice massage: my father-in-law's feet

My first hospice massage: my father-in-law's feet

I was in massage school in 2001 when my father-in-law was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, with metastases to the spine. He was having chronic back pain and went to get an MRI. They found a tumor wrapped around his nerve root. Ouch. The whole experience was one big ouch after another. And there wasn't much I could do -- I hadn't even completed my massage training yet. But I discovered pretty quickly that there was something invaluable that I could offer: foot rubs and shoulder squeezes.

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