Massage therapy is an invaluable tool for soothing and healing and is one of the best therapies available for bringing physical and emotional comfort to a patient who is near death. As a person approaches the end of their life, they often experience a wide range of emotions; sadness, grief, anger, confusion and loneliness, just to name a few. Massage can help to lift the heavy psychological turmoil weighing on their mind and relieve pain and suffering.

The human touch is an amazing thing. A simple touch establishes a connection between two people which can create safety, comfort, peace, and can often bring them relief from pain.  Most patients at the end of their life are not in a position to get a traditional massage like what you would find in a spa or chiropractor’s office.

The need for a full-body massage or deep tissue work is often unnecessary and sometimes unwanted, even uncomfortable and detrimental, at the end of life.  However, someone holding a hand, stroking an arm or rubbing a foot can have a powerful beneficial effect on both the physiological and psychological state of the patient.   The simple act of touching can ease some of their discomforts. Multiple studies show that massage can, in fact, lessen the pain that a person might be experiencing.[1]

The one-on-one personal time that the massage therapist can give a patient is important as well. Oftentimes when the patient is in a clinical setting the medical staff and healthcare workers come and go. It’s difficult for those people to sit with the patient uninterrupted and just talk, hold their hand or stroke their arm.  A massage therapist can invest this quality time. We can offer the patient a listening ear and soothing touch to help bring relief and encourage the patient to relax.

The benefits of massage are many. It has been shown to decrease symptoms of anxiety, agitation and depression in addition to helping ease pain and relieve joint stiffness. It positively impacts the quality of life by helping the patient to relax and to achieve a sense of inner peace.  Isn’t that what we would all want as we approach the end of our life?