Massage therapy is a clinical-based massage used in hospice and palliative care environments to help provide patients with relief from pain, discomfort and other stressors. Massage therapy is provided by a highly qualified masseuse (or masseur), known as a massage therapist, who has received specialized training in massage therapy and has met a variety of other educational requirements. Massage therapists are specially trained to consider the physical limitations of adults and children based on their age, development, physical needs and illness. They use this knowledge to tailor the massage to relieve pain and discomfort, while making the experience as comfortable and soothing as possible. In this article, read more about the role of a massage therapist in the palliative care setting.
What Is Massage?
Massage is a type of treatment in which a trained and certified medical professional (a massage therapist) manipulates the soft tissues of a patient’s body—muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and skin—using various degrees of movement and pressure. Massage is considered an integrative medicine that can be used alongside remedial and palliative care, to help patients in a variety of ways, such as:
- Helping to relieve pain
- Rehabilitating injuries
- Reducing stress
- Increasing relaxation
- Addressing anxiety and depression
- Aiding in general wellness
Typically, patients will generally lie down or sit in a comfortable position, either in loose-fitting clothing or covered in a sheet, whereby the massage therapist will press and rub their muscles and other soft tissues of the body. Typically, massage therapist will do this using their hands and fingers, but they may use their forearms, elbows, or feet, as well. The massage therapist will assess the appropriate amount of time needed for a massage, which can range from a few minutes up to an hour.
What Does a Massage Therapist Do?
A massage therapist is responsible for planning, organizing and providing medically prescribed massage therapy. Within the context of hospice care, this comprises a variety of responsibilities, including creating a caring and safe environment, addressing comfort needs and using full or partial body massage in ways that positively enhance a patient’s quality of life. Massage therapists will come prepared, knowing a patient’s symptoms, medical history and care-goals, and use this information to tailor the massage for each client. Moreover, they may also perform a comfort evaluation through touch to locate tense or painful areas and to determine how much pressure to apply.
Generally, states require licensed massage therapists to have a minimum of 500 hours of training at an accredited institution, pass a national exam, and meet specific continuing education requirements. While optional, obtaining certification through the The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork by passing an official national examination, is also recommended. Massage therapists must also have a firm grasp of the complex medical conditions of their patients, and be comfortable taking the necessary precautions when working with patients with specific treatment regimens, physical limitations, or a complex medical history.
How Can A Massage Benefit Your Child?
Massage therapy can benefit your child in a variety of ways, including:
Promote Feelings Of Security
Focused or intentional touch can convey a message of being cared for, being safe, being worthwhile and being connected. These feelings can help your child form positive associations with their physical body, helping to curb their anger, depression, fear or other attitudinal symptoms brought on by their illness. Moreover, because massage provides an opportunity for one-on-one social contact, it can also assist in easing feelings of isolation and loneliness. With these stressors eliminated, your child may receive enhanced relief from physical and emotional pain as well.
Stabilize & Aid In General Wellness
Massage therapy can also introduce a sense of stability for children by helping to stabilize their heart rate, lower their blood pressure, ease negative feelings and release endorphins. This can promote general feelings of positive wellbeing and deliver on palliative care’s goal to substantially improve the quality of life for children.
Speak to KidsCare Of The Rockies For More Information
We hope this article has helped you understand the role of a massage therapist in the palliative care environment and how massage can benefit your child. Whether by minimizing pain, reducing anxiety, or facilitating feelings of connection and security, a massage therapist is equipped with the skills and experience to help your child cope with their illness. For more information about hospice care massage and massage therapists who make it possible, contact KidsCare of the Rockies today!