There aren’t many people who don’t love massage. Massage has been synonymous with luxury and pampering for eons. It has come to be known as the ultimate self-indulgence. But this has also been its downfall. When something feels luxurious, it’s easy for us to mistake it for a luxury.
A calm, well-treated body with as little pain and anxiety as possible is not a luxury. It’s essential to healing, even if that healing happens on the way to dying.
Massage therapy and basic human touch are largely undervalued in healthcare today. The skill, compassion, and commitment required to bring massage therapy into the hospital in a fully integrated and meaningful way is unique and is not afforded by the level of training offered to most massage therapists in massage school.
The mother of a 3-year-old girl hospitalized for chemotherapy once shared, “The night she received massage therapy was the first night of her hospitalization when my daughter didn’t cry herself to sleep.” Massage therapists have the humbling opportunity to change the way people feel in their bodies; even when their bodies have become places of pain, fear and anxiety. We teach about and deliver, firsthand, the important power of human touch in environments that have become increasingly high-tech and low-touch.
Massage therapists travel from around the world to participate in our training programs which prepare them to work with people affected by cancer, people in the hospital and with all people whose bodies and lives may not be doing what they had expected. Our educational programs are delivered by our experienced teaching staff and are based on an essential understanding that massage therapy is, first and foremost, a conversation with the nervous system. Our team teaches and works from a place that trusts deeply in the power of a skillful combination of presence, touch and clinical excellence.
We are currently launching a 2-year massage therapy dosing study in partnership with MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Health Research Institute that will be the biggest study of its kind. Our therapist team will work with palliative care patients providing massage therapy in collaboration with other members of the research team who will gather data on pain medication usage, experience of pain, anxiety and other measures related to quality of life. This study will provide an opportunity for hundreds of patients to receive massage therapy during their hospitalization and will provide important data about how to harness the value of massage therapy as a standard of care.
Healwell is excited to be one of the Arlington Chamber’s newest members. We look forward to collaborating with other local organizations and businesses in pursuit of improved quality of life in our community and beyond.