Lessons from the Dying, Number 2: Deep Listening

Lessons from the Dying, Number 2: Deep Listening

Joe was fighting cancer. Despite aggressive treatments, he managed to be upbeat about his situation, and his family was there to care for him. Initially he refused my offer of palliative massage to his shoulders. When I asked him a second time I was met with, “Okay, that might be good today.”

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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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Bodyworkers Confidential: Anchor Woman in a Medical Relay Part 1

Bodyworkers Confidential: Anchor Woman in a Medical Relay Part 1

This summer I had an alarming situation in clinic that cemented in my mind the critical component of teamwork in an integrative healthcare environment. If you palpate something "unusual" (read suspicious and scary) on a client, what do you say? Do you finish the session with a potential contraindication looming? How do you communicate with the client's other health care practitioners? What do you document? This sensitive case is reported in two parts.

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Bodyworkers Confidential: Anchor Woman in a Medical Relay Part 2

Bodyworkers Confidential: Anchor Woman in a Medical Relay Part 2

This is part two of a two-part report on handling a case where I palpated something concerning on a client. It cemented in my mind how critical the component of teamwork is in a multidisciplinary healthcare environment. When do you follow up with the client? How do you communicate with the client's other health care practitioners? What do you document? Where do you go for support during this scary situation?

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PTSD from the War on Cancer?

PTSD from the War on Cancer?

I recently attended an amazing mentorship class with Char Sundust. During the class we watched a lecture by Edward Tick, PhD. His work focuses on healing veterans with PTSD. It suddenly and profoundly hit me that all the words that were being used in the lecture to discuss warfare were also used in cancer treatment.

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Transitions from Survivorship to Thrivership in Your Massage Practice

Transitions from Survivorship to Thrivership in Your Massage Practice

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? 

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