When I arrived for our massage session, my client Mary’s eyes were devoid of awareness, as if she were there only in body. Mary is an Alzheimer’s patient at a special memory care facility in Westminster, Colorado. She barely speaks, and when she does, her words cannot be understood. When I first began volunteering massage services to seniors years ago, I was nervous around clients like Mary, because communication is so important to the therapist-client relationship. In a case like Mary’s, however, communication is challenging and requires an approach beyond words.
Wow!” Linda said as she stood up from the chair and slowly walked across the dining room floor. “My headache is gone. Thank you!”
Had I given a complicated headache treatment or finished a full-body massage session for Linda? No. I had just given her a five-minute, impromptu seated massage while she sat on a kitchen chair. She is the caregiver for one of my elder, homebound massage clients and had been complaining of a headache, so I offered to give her a quick seated massage session.
"The tiger is ready to go. That was grrrreat!” These are words spoken by an 82-year-old man who had recently been released after a month in the hospital. He had just received his first session of Comfort Touch. Peg, the massage therapist who relayed his story to me, had recently attended my workshop “Comfort Touch for the Elderly and the Ill.”
Another therapist, Kathleen, shared her experience of using Comfort Touch in a hospital: “It is incredible. You look in the eyes of the patient, knowing you made a difference.”