One of our most important services for our patients is massage therapy. While this may sound like an odd therapy to offer patients, it’s more important than you think. Wondering why? Take a look.
The brain is actually wired to interpret the touch of other people. A variety of studies in the past ten years have shown that touch is the perfect way to signal important emotions and communicate with those in a non-verbal manner. People feel more connected to the world if someone touches them, and on the whole, more positive interactions occur thanks to touch than negative ones. Touch is one of the first sensations human beings experience, and it’s one of the last to leave them as they die. It can penetrate even when things like words cannot, and studies have found that patients are often able to reduce their reliance on medications when touch becomes an integrated part of the treatments.
While you may see your massage therapist for a deep tissue massage, in hospice care, things tend to be a bit different. The goal is to communicate love and care, so geriatric massage techniques are often employed to help relieve pain. When muscles are stimulated through massage, relaxation and calmness often follow. It can even help to stimulate oxygen in the tissues, which may help ease pain. The specific techniques used often depend on the needs of the individual patient and the wishes of the family.
Touch is so important to seriously ill patients, and massage therapy is one way to ensure that patients feel the warmth and care around them even at the end of the road.