The power of touch…
Having left London in 2011 I came to Bournemouth to live and decided to go self-employed as a Massage Therapist. I had only previously worked part time in this area since qualifying in 2003. I enjoyed it tremendously, to me it’s a natural gift. Having carried out many different therapies in the course of my career, restoring someone to health emotionally, physically and physiologically, from when your client first steps foot through the door, is so satisfying. Although it may never be long lasting, you know in the time you spent together, you accomplished something between the client and yourself:- A bond and trust.
By chance I was put in touch with a residential care home for adults with an array of disabilities:- learning difficulties, Down’s syndrome, autism and behaviour problems and dementia.
I went along to meet the proprietor to discuss working on a weekly basis with the adults through touch therapy. I soon had a starting date and went along and introduced myself to all the residents and staff.
Prior to me starting all the residents were informed before my arrival, which prevented them from becoming too anxious.
It was suggested each resident would have a 20 minutes session of touch therapy with me and in this time they could choose from: – Foot Massage, Indian Head Massage, Back Massage or Arm and Hand Massage.
Most of the residents had never experienced touch therapy before, so it was wonderful for them to have this opportunity!
Touch therapy, gives each individual the chance to receive tactile touch and the feeling of being nurtured, which so many people are denied today.
The residents now look forward to seeing me every week and can often be seen waiting outside the therapy room anticipating their turn.
I have wonderful rapport with each one of the residents and it’s so rewarding when you arrive to be greeted with a hug and a warm smile.
The majority of the residents have welcomed touch therapy, but as rare as it may seem, touch therapy with someone who suffers with autism, has been most rewarding. It’s all about patience, not expecting too much too soon. I have gone from very small sessions, starting from 5 minutes to a full 20 minutes.
It is obvious that these special people have everything to gain from massage therapy.
“I would say for anybody who has a child or adult with special needs, touch is integral to human development. Through the 1950s and 1960s, researchers Harry Harlow and Rene Spitz, among others, carried out landmark studies proving that touch promotes attachment. There are several facets of touch. Mastery of the levels of touch is a sense you develop with time and experience.”
Suzy also visits care homes offering Touch Therapy Tactile massage….
Touching the skin are ways to bond and communicate with a person even in severe stages of dementia. Many people with dementia benefit from touch therapy, a form of treatment similar to massage. These gentle movements give a feeling of relaxation and calm, which reduces anxiety. Even five-minutes of hand massage have been shown to elicit a physiological relaxation response and decreases cortisol levels.
I now visit care homes with special needs through recommendations. Please contact me if you would like more information about touch therapy.