Research reported in Science Daily found that receiving massage therapy for eight weeks after a loved one’s death helped them cope.“Eighteen people, aged from 34-78, who had lost a relative to cancer took part in the study. They all said the massages provided consolation, helping them to balance the need to grieve and the need to adapt to life after the loss of their relative,” the article noted.Bereavement Massage Therapy is a distinct method that combines various modalities to address grief, and is not to be confused with end-of-life massage therapy.
Where the intent of end-of-life massage is to ease the transition of the dying from one realm to another, Bereavement Massage Therapy focuses on reconnecting the grieving client to their body.Bereavement Massage Therapy also incorporates such techniques as reflexology, polarity, Swedish massage and craniosacral techniques.Bereavement Massage Therapy does not eliminate the grieving process or fix all pain issues. “Grief is a journey that each person has to take in their own time,” she explained.
Nor is it intended to fix pain issues, although pain relief can be a side effect as the client’s muscles relax.Instead, Bereavement Massage Therapy is used to give the client a sense of balance during a time of upheaval. People who have received sessions report a sense of feeling lighter as a result.
“There is very little talking by the therapist in a Bereavement Massage Therapy session. It’s only to ensure that the client is comfortable.”
Clients are always welcome to speak during a session, but clients who expect counseling should contact their care providers, such as hospice, a family physician, clergy, funeral director, or veterinarian, in the case of pet loss; or to find licensed mental health care providers or local support groups.
Nurturing touch is up there with life’s necessities.“People have needs,” “We need water, oxygen, food. And we need human touch.”