for Caregivers and
For caregivers of people with cancer and other serious illness.
For healthcare workers in any role or setting.
WHY THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE FOR CAREGIVERS?
Caregiving is a full-time occupation, whether personal or professional.
In a labor of love, caregivers often provide care in the absence of adequate social supports for themselves and their loved ones. The impact of caregiver distress is well-known, and thought to contribute to poor health.
Occupational stress among healthcare workers is at an all-time high, with physical and emotional burnout, anxiety, depression, and low morale exacerbated by the pandemic and pandemic response.
Caregiving's physical stresses include back, neck, and shoulder tension from transferring, turning, and positioning loved ones and patients. Neck and low back tension from hours squinting at screens. Sore feet and postural muscles from standing and walking. Tension from long hours and long periods waiting in uncomfortable chairs. Poor sleep, and compromised health.
Often caregiver stress and burnout are attributed to a personal failure of self-care. Yet self-care is hard to maintain within larger structural failures, such as challenging work environments, punishing schedules, working without social supports, and inadequate respite resources and staffing.
By itself, being expected to be permanently "on" can cause chronic stress.
Massage therapy is an opportunity to tune out and turn off. To be cared for; to begin to fill an empty tank, and to attend to the effects of stress on the body.
HOW CAN THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE HELP?
For caregivers massage therapy may:
Relieve the aches and pains of physical caregiving
Ease problems that are aggravated by stress, such as tension headache, poor sleep, back pain, and neck pain
Reduce anxiety and depression
Ease the isolation of caregiving
Support overall well-being
WHAT IS THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE?
My work is "Swedish-like" massage, with long, flowy strokes overall and focused work on specific muscle groups. When I focus, I might use deeper, more "pointy" work if needed and welcomed.
I use gentle to medium pressures. The pressure should be deep enough to be meaningful to the muscles, but not so deep that it causes pain. I check in a few times during the session about pressure, and encourage my clients to speak up about it as well.
A typical session might include the scalp, neck, shoulders, back, and back of hips. It also includes arms and hands, legs and feet. I can also gently massage the forehead. A 60-minute session is time enough to get to most of these areas with a couple of areas of focus. A 75-minute session allows for more focus and more coverage.
With this work, I can address general tension and stress as well as specific aches and pains, but it's also important to say what I do not do:
I do not provide "orthopedic" or "remedial" massage therapy.
I do not treat injuries or scar tissue.
I do not describe my work as "medical massage," or "deep tissue massage."
WHAT ABOUT MASSAGE THERAPY DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC?
Massage therapy is safer for all clients when thoughtful COVID protections are in place. All clients agree to follow the COVID guidelines in this practice, described here.