Friday, November 8, 2013

Bringing out a smile

Recently a friend asked me to do some work for someone who was in the hospital with Leukemia.

I was unsure at the time how exactly I could help, this man was sick, they were giving him blood transfusions and he was to need a bone marrow transplant. While I had learned in school that massage and energy work help in pretty much every situation, I wasn't sure that I was ready for this one. At first I held back, helping my friend talk to the doctors using terminology I had learned in oncology massage in school. I told her to describe mushroom tinctures as "Complementary" therapy instead of "Alternative" therapy, as most conventional doctors get a bit defensive at an "alternative" to their care. 

I took the 2 hour drive with my friend from Connecticut to New York City, the entire time trying to stay centered and open up my heart chakra, for I knew that an open heart and some energy work was the best that I could do for someone undergoing radiation therapy. (Hands on massage is not recommended for cases like this unless instructed by a doctor, and we were having a hard enough time with them already)

When I arrived at the hospital the situation proved much more dire then I had originally expected, I had thought that he would be in a hospital bed with other people, I did not know that he would be by himself in quarantine, that I would need gloves, a mask and a apron to visit him.

After collecting myself I again centered my energy, lining up my chakras and reciting a few mantras of love and good healing energy.  

Entering the room I could tell we were both a bit nervous, not wanting someone so vulnerable to feel uncomfortable, and knowing that he had little idea of what 'energy work' was I made a joke about this "hippie dippie stuff" and explained that energy work was meant to make him feel good. In a room where most of the people that touched him were poking him with needles or forcing tubes in his nose, I was just here to make him feel good. And to let me know that if he felt comfortable, I would do all i could to fix that. 

We spent a half our in silence, me holding his hand, or his foot, trying to send him loving energy and kindness in the ways that I had been taught, or rather the ways that felt right. I did some reflexology lightly to his feet, he expressed how wonderful it felt.

And then about a half hour he started to smile, then came a laugh. A laugh of relief, a laugh that sounded almost like a cry but there wasn't a tear. None came after that, it was a single laugh, one of which I'm sure was followed by pain. But the smile lingered for a moment, and I knew for a second at least this man was at peace.

I worked for only about an hour on this man, and after we were done, he asked for his pain killers. So I have no grand ideas that I'm some amazing healer that fixed this man. He was in pain when I arrived and he was in pain when I left. 

But I do know that while I was there some relief was felt, I know it from the change I felt in the handshake when I got there and in the hug when I left.

Oncology massage isn't like regular massage, sometimes its just about making someone feel good for a small portion of time, to bring a sense of calm into a place where they feel stressed and anxious most of the time. It can be tough for the therapist, but overall a rewarding experience. Its not for everyone, there are dangers of exposure to radiation depending on the type of chemotherapy the client is receiving. 

If you or someone you know is interested in receiving energy-work and is dealing with disease please contact me

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