Taking Charge of Your Health

Massage is actually a healthcare intervention.
When we apply massage and use massage with the person things are happening in their body,
to their body and also on a sort of spiritual, interpersonal level. What we do with oncology massage I think is
really two-fold. How do we adjust massage so that it doesn’t cause harm? But I think
when we get down to oncology massage in that safety aspect it’s really about how much more
can we do and how much more specifically of service can we be to people who have been
affected by cancer. Okay you have these limitatinos because you’ve had radiation or you’ve had
lymph nodes removed or surgery, or you’re going through chemotherapy. Maybe you’re sitting
in the infusion chair and you’re receiving some massage therapy. What can I do as a massage
therapist to sort of just sneak into what’s already happening with your body in a way
that your body almost doesn’t know that I’m there. That I’m just there as a sort of sneaky
support that I’m offering. I sort of envision the body as jumping double dutch rope if you’ve
ever seen that happen where you have the two ropes, and the person who’s going to jump
is waiting for the hole in the ropes. And you jump in and you jump a couple of times
and you jump back out and the ropes keep going. And that’s sort of what I think of when I’m
doing oncology massage is I connect with that person in a way that helps me understand like
where is your nervous system, where are your muscles, where’s your mind, where is all the
vibration in your body and how can I work with you in a way that I’m not asking anything
more of your body? And then the other piece is that presence piece that I think even massage
therapists sort of forget about. And there’s so many different types of massage therapy
training out there and there are short programs and long programs and programs that focus
on mechanics and then programs that focus less on mechanics and more on presence. And
when we do oncology massage it’s this beautiful marriage of understanding the mechanics and
the pathophysiology of disease and treatment and adding to it this piece that isn’t coming
from helping but is coming more from service. Is coming more from where are you today and
how can I be as close to that place as possible so that I’m not asking anything new of you?

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