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The Value of Massage for Caregivers

By Kristine Dwyer,  Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 5)

Benefits and Results:

As a society, we are touch-deprived and this can lead to physical and emotional challenges. From birth to the end of life, caring touch is necessary to bring about a sense of well-being and security. Massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive approach that focuses on the body’s natural ability to heal and regenerate itself.

Massage has also been used as a primary intervention for caregivers that experience stress, fatigue and insomnia. A study by the Oregon Hospice Association and College of Healing Arts found that when massage was offered as a respite intervention, 85 percent of the caregivers reported a decrease in emotional and physical stress, physical pain was relieved for 77 percent of the caregivers and difficult sleep was eased for over half of the participants. It is hoped that in the future, massage therapists can join hospice and medical treatment teams to assist caregivers and patients with sore muscles as well as offer them restfulness, compassion and peace of mind.

Massage Recommendations:

It is advisable for all persons interested in massage to consult first with their doctors to confirm that massage will be beneficial to them.  There may be some conditions where massage is not recommended or specific techniques need to be limited. This may be especially true for some cancer patients or those who have varicose veins, skin inflammations, infections or tumors.

Locating a massage therapist can be done by word of mouth, through a physician or clinic or by contacting the American Massage Therapy Association. They represent therapists around the country and require members to follow specific practices and a strict code of ethics. Massage therapy services should be provided by a professional who has received proper training in a variety of techniques, has graduated from an accredited or approved program and is certified, licensed or regulated by the state. Ultimately, having a sense of trust and comfort with the therapist will reflect on the outcome of the massage experience.

Basics of Massage:

Once the choice to have a massage has been made, it is important to discuss general health questions, concerns and massage methods with the therapist. This will help alleviate apprehension and maximize the massage experience. A massage session will take place in a warm, comfortable and quiet room on a special massage table. Soft, relaxing music is played and the aroma of healing oils or scents may be present.

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