Massage And Grief

As Massage Therapists we support individuals through many different hurdles throughout their lives. Dealing with a new born, a child acting out at home, a fight with a spouse, a personal health scare or the death of a loved one, to name a few. No, we are not psychologists, but we are human, and we are fantastic listeners. Sometimes that's all one person needs. Someone who is uninvolved in the rest of their lives who they can talk openly and honestly with, without fear of judgement. I have had many regular clients who have come in, shoulders slumped, breathing shallow and energy lacking, people who I know well enough to read their signs, who are finally able to open up and share their grief. I have heard of grandfathers, brothers, daughters and husbands passing. A friend who has been diagnosed with cancer. A husband who has lost a job. Many times the clients sharing their stories are considered to be the Strong One, the one people depend on. They have not yet had the chance to deal with their own sorrow. Other times it has been months and their support system has moved on while their grief still feels raw.  There have been times where I have held and hugged them. Times where my hands stilled to allow them the chance to release their emotions. Many, many tissues passed around. 

Beyond listening, we have the privilege of healing through touch. Helping you to open up emotionally and physically. Think of the last time something devastating happened to you. My guess is that you were curled up in a ball, shoulders hunched, protecting your heart. People would give you polite hugs, but you barely felt them. They were scared to get too close, to ask too many questions or to see you cry. On the table we are able to reveal those deeply buried feelings, to let them out and give them a voice. We are able to open up your chest and free your heart from its burdens. We can support with our hands. And most importantly we can help you feel whole, valued and worthy again. Slowly we can pick up all the pieces and rebuild. We can't take away all the pain but we can surely help guide you on the path to healing.  

I had the honour of giving my Aunt her very first massage only months after losing her husband, my uncle. She was grieving, tears were shed and fears were verbalized. It was a challenge I was confident I could handle. We communicated throughout the treatment to make sure she was always comfortable and talked about different pain points, physically and emotionally. By the end of the massage I think we both felt a sense of healing, I know I did. I was reassured the next day when I received a text message from her. Now I could have just taken this message and posted it on our Testimonials page, but I think it deserves more than that. She put into words why I am so passionate about Massage Therapy and reassured me that I was on the right life path. With her permission, I will share her experience with you. 

"Kristy, I wanted to make sure you understand the impact you had on me by providing my first massage treatment. I was concerned about my body weight but you were non-judgemental and only made me feel beautiful. This was important to my comfort level, but it also reminded me of how Ron used to make me feel because he saw past the weight and always see me as the 97 lb. girl he married. Your touch also made me realize how much I've missed being touched since Ron died. Your beautiful space, the wonderful music, the peacefulness you provided me on Sunday has stayed with me still and I'm so grateful. I'm looking forward to my next massage now that I realize how professional and compassionate a massage therapist has to be to provide such an uplifting experience."

I am so proud of her coming to see me and sharing her experience during such a vulnerable time in her life. It still brings tears to my eyes when I read it as I am so grateful to have been given the chance to affect her so deeply, especially someone I love so dearly. While this may have been her first massage ever, it took an enormous amount of courage for her to come in. I love this. And I love taking on brand new clients, shifting them from terrified to empowered. But this is also one reason I encourage clients to come in for regular massages. You never know when you will be hit with tragedy. It is already difficult trying something new, but when you are grieving it seems impossible. If you have built that relationship of trust with your therapist, that fear fades away and you will benefit so much more from your treatment. 

I challenge other massage therapists reading this to remember compassion, acceptance and gratitude. Compassion for people whose whole story you will never know. Acceptance for all body types and viewpoints. Gratitude for having someone trust in you during a time where they feel trapped and vulnerable. We are placed in a position of power and there are so many amazing ways we can use it. Never underestimate the power of touch. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all those who have shared their story and their grief with me. I am honoured to have been a part of your healing.