a community of practitioners
I took Tracy Walton's 4-day class and learned a tremendous amount about massage for people with cancer. The main thing I learned was that you need to be ready to meet the client where they're at - more so than a "regular" massage. There are so many factors that come into play - where they are in treatment, how they are reacting to it, how they are handling the cancer diagnosis. The hands-on experience with a cancer patient was tremendous and emotional. Another focus of the class was becoming aware of our own humanity and sharing about different quotes from patients about their journeys.
Somthing that I would have liked was more info about starting my practice in oncology massage. But, time was limited and their was a lot of info to learn/cover.
So today I had my first Oncology patient. I have no specific training in oncology massage and the woman I work for/with had little to offer me in the way of support. I was lucky enough to come across two great articles regarding cancer and massage. One was by Gayle MacDonald and it was absolutely invaluable in giving me the confidence and resources to meet my client exactly where she was at. The other article was by Tracy Walton (lucky you Gary for being able to study with her) and listed a number of questions to ask the client before crafting a session. I printed this out, highlighted it and brought it with me to the office. It was a great resource and I felt so much better having it close at hand.
I am blessed that the massage training I received prepared me for emotional moments for clients on the massage table, but still I was unnerved by my clients tears and admission that her daughter was getting married soon and she didn't wish to be the "picture of the typical cancer patient" then she started to cry and admitted that she "was not as okay with her diagnosis as much she likes to think she is". I told her that it was always okay to have tears on my massage table and that if she needed me to stop at any point we could take a break. But I felt helpless and out of my league.
Since that appointment, I've ordered Gayle MacDonald's book and am considering two online classes through AMTA regarding oncology massage. I'd love to take Gayle's class but I live in NC and traveling to the West Coast, or anywhere for that matter, is not an option for me right now. I'll be looking inot classes by Tracy Walton next. I am open to suggestion about available Oncology massage training in the NC area.
There are many great oncology instructors that you can find on the Society For Oncology Massage website s4om.org. There is a wonderful instructor that is in Virginia and she is holding a 3-day oncology class in Va Beach on October 12-14, 2012 at Cayce/Reilly School of Massotherapy. She just completed a class there last weekend. Of course there are more classes and descriptions of all of them on her website. I hope that you will look into her courses.
Below is her welcome blurb from her website www.lighthold.org.
My name is Lauren Muser Cates. I am honored to be one of a small but growing group of passionate massage
therapist educators who have chosen to focus on strengthening and growing the ranks of the Oncology Massage
community through inspirational, clinically accurate, technically skilled and compassionate training.
The challenges faced by each person living with cancer are unique to that person on every level. It is my hope that, through my training courses, massage therapists and other oncology and end of life professionals will gain
not only the clinical knowledge necessary to be of specific service to this population, but also to cultivate and
awaken in themselves a spirit of true compassion and openness to
themselves, to their clients and to the mystery of what disease and
wellness can reveal.