Reach out and touch

Reach out and touch

06 Jul 2015 by David Bustamante LMT, RMI, BS - In The Know Magazine issue #34

A frenetic and busy life often leaves its mark upon the body that carries out the everyday hustle and bustle. Muscles, tendons and body chemistry endure so much of the wear, the worry and the rush of daily living. So many people often find themselves neglecting their bodies and sometimes even suffering consequences of that negligence. If human touch is healing, then deeper touch can be curatively therapeutic. An extended touch known as Massage Therapy can often provide the lubrication and care our bodies need for healthy maintenance.

Massage therapy is the practice of manipulation of the soft body tissues with physical, medical, therapeutic and sometimes psychological purposes and goals. Massage involves manipulation of the patient’s body with pressure to target muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints and/or connective tissues as well as lymphatic vessels.

Massage therapists need to know how to work with complex medical conditions taking into account the application of massage, adjustments in massage, pressure, joint movement, areas of focus, position, massage lubricants and when and how to consult the clients physician for needed information. A therapist uses appropriate intake procedures to adapt their techniques to deal with those who have complex medical conditions such as cancer. The needs of a cancer patient require special attentions for those who have lymphedema or risk of lymphedema, bone metastasis, vital organ involvements, risk of deep vein thrombosis and suppressed blood cell populations. It is important for a therapist to craft an intake for someone with a cancer history, not just an active cancer so that they might customize their work to the individual client presentations.

Massage is a profound way to communicate through healthy, healing touch to relieve symptoms, reduce isolation and help people feel cared for and empowered. Different types and stages of cancer bring different signs, symptoms and complications requiring individual massage therapy approaches. Many side effects occur as a result of treatment such as pain, anxiety, nausea, fatigue and depression. Claims of relief are becoming a focal point for massage researchers. There once existed a myth in massage therapy that claimed massage was contraindicated for people with cancer but, thanks to recent advances in education, the absolute contraindication of massage therapy has been overturned. It is true that any technique is contraindicated if it directly disturbs an active tumor site. But for massage to do this, the tumor site would have to be superficial enough to be in reach of the therapist’s hands, movements or hydrotherapy techniques.

I am passionate about researching the benefits of massage therapy and reaching out to educate and treat people with beneficial touch therapy.


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