Day-Break Geriatric Massage Project

Caring for Our Elders Through Touch 

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.

Stroke Rehab, Part 3

Getting to Work

When working with stroke victims it is important to realize that in the case of a spastic stroke, the muscles are not out of commission, but they are out of control. The balance between flexors and extenders is gone; so is the wonderful phenomenon of muscle groups that, in a fantastic choreography, can bring the most incredible variation of strength and direction of movement to bear on the most mundane moves.

What in the World is EDRF?

Enhancing Circulation in Peripheral Vascular Disease

EDRF. It stands for Endothelium Derived Relaxing Factor. I first made its acquaintance in 1978 when I was summoned by the neighbor of an 18-year-old client, John. This client was an incomplete quadriplegic as the consequence of a minor car accident; John’s condition required my thrice-weekly presence. After the neighbor saw the tremendous progress John made, for which I received completely unjustified credit, she chose me to save her father’s legs from amputation. Despite my protestations, she implored me to at least meet her father. Reluctantly I agreed. Well, why not?

Bodywork and Parkinson’s Patients

A Strong Combination

The incidence of Parkinson’s disease in the United States is estimated at 1 million, with an additional 50,000 patients being diagnosed every year. While it is generally considered a disease of those between 50 and 79 years of age, incidence below the age of 40 is rapidly increasing and epidemiologists suspect environmental influences are playing a part in this phenomenon.1 Noting that Parkinson’s is still essentially a disease of aging, the likelihood of caucasians coming down with the disease is 2.5 percent.