‘End of life care’ is a term not often used or spoken about, and some don’t like hearing the words ‘Palliative Care’.
To stand by and witness a loved one slowly lose all muscle and body fat due to some form of cancer or illness can be a harrowing journey.
To see them in pain can be frightening and often we can feel helpless.
When your dad who was a very big burly man is reduced to just the delicateness of his skin and frame, this can be confronting. When your mother who you have known for her fullness and vibrancy becomes drawn and her body sunken, it can be saddening, shocking and can take some adjusting to, to say the least.
A good palliative carer supports both the client and their family with the end of life process.
Good Pain management can make a huge difference along with unimposing care.
As a massage therapist, on occasions I’m called in by a family member, partner or friend as a support with a gentle massage. A lot of people find that pain management can take away pain but does not always bring relaxation to the body. Massage can support the person to bring calm to the nervous system and connective tissue.
Constant pain can have an effect on the person’s mood and often family members will say to me that their loved one is being affected by the pain to the point that they are being short and abrupt in the way they are speaking to them.
With seemingly so little time left with a person, this can be a point of sadness and tension in families. Massage supports a reconnection, that in turn supports the person to be more at ease and surrendered to the process, this then also impacts their openness and the quality of their connection with others.
As a trained oncology massage therapist, I have learnt the particular sensitivities required when massaging someone with chronic illness.
My own experience with clients has shown me that a light and gentle massage can safely be given to people at all stages of cancer and allow relief and lightness to the body and being – allowing the body the surrender it needs for a deep restful sleep.
Families also report that they feel that their loved one is a in a much better mood after a massage too and the connection they can then have with them is a treasured experience.
Yasmin Lang is a remedial massage therapist in Byron Bay with a qualification in palliative care nursing. Innermost Harmony provides oncology massage in Byron Bay, Ballina and the surrounding area.