Massage Therapy for the Terminally Ill

Published: 03rd May 2011
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There are many potential benefits of massage therapy for the terminally ill that patients and their loved ones should explore during this difficult time. There are massage therapists that specialize in body work that helps terminally ill patients achieve better health and well-being during their final time in hospice or at home. Therapeutic touch is the most common type of massage therapy that is used on terminally ill patients, but there are many different techniques that can work quite well in these cases.

Benefits of Therapeutic Massage for the Terminally Ill

Terminally ill patients often experience a reduction in the following negative symptoms as a result of therapeutic massage:

  • Anger

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Feelings of isolation

  • Insomnia

  • Musculoskeletal pain

  • Stiffness

  • Spasms

In addition to reductions in negative symptoms, patients also often see increases in positive attributes, such as self esteem and self worth as a result of therapeutic massage. Being in contact with an individual outside of oneís inner circle can also be surprisingly beneficial for terminally ill patients. And thereís no denying the power of human touch, whether it comes from an experienced masseuse or notóbut an experienced pair of hands can do the most good.

Common Massage Techniques for the Terminally Ill

In addition to therapeutic touch, qualified massage therapists also use methods such as hot and cold applications, pressure techniques and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) when working with terminally ill patients. The main goals are typically to relieve muscle tension, pain and pressure so the patient can live more comfortably during their final days. A positive mental state can also have a number of health benefits for the patient.

While massage therapy is not a cure for anything, it can provide unmatched benefits during a terminally ill patientís final days, weeks and/or months. It is very beneficial overall for relieving pain, stress, anxiety and other symptoms that come about both as a result of the disease that the patient is suffering from and their mental state coping with the end of life. Many patients report a feeling of peace and a sense of being cared for that they were missing before beginning massage therapy. The most beneficial aspect of massage therapy for the terminally ill is the simple factor of human touch. It can do wonders for any patient, especially for those that are terminally ill.

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