Massage Therapy and Touch in Hospice Care

Massage Therapy and Touch in Hospice Care

Massage therapy can be relaxing and comforting for all ages, but most importantly for hospice patients. These individuals benefit immensely from this form of therapy that has been proven to provide significant improvement for pain, anxiety and health-related quality of life for those who need to manage their pain. This is why we provide this service as an integral part of our care method, and can cater to any unique situation our patients may be in at Unity First Hospice.

Benefits of Massage Therapy in Hospice

Massage therapy is a nurturing part of great hospice care, for many reasons, including the following:

  • The treatments and medications designed to relieve pain can be somewhat effective, but can also place additional strain on the body. Hospice massage acts as a natural treatment that can help patients get peace.
  • Full-blown massage treatments may no longer be possible at the very end of life when the patient is in a fragile state. However, even at this stage, there’s something called attentive touch that can ease discomfort wherever it is needed. This may take the form of a gentle foot massage or scalp massage, for example.
  • The ability to just be present for the patient is the goal of hospice massage therapists, serving as anchors for family members and other caregivers through undivided attention met with a transformative response of calm and trust.
  • The physical benefits from touch include stabilized heart rate, lower blood pressure, endorphin release, a feeling of being cared for, and eased depression, fear and anxiety.
What Happens During a Massage Therapy Session

When a patient received massage, the muscles and soft tissues relax, to be sure, but their entire well-being and spirit has a chance to release anxiety and just be present in the moment, says Mayo Clinic. When patients are able to relax, pain is lessened and a sense of well-being has a chance to take over, allowing the patient to experience greater peace and ability to cope with what lies ahead.

This, together with pain relief, produces a “relaxation response,” where the heart and breathing rates slow, blood pressure goes down, production of stress hormones decreases, and muscles relax, according to the University of Minnesota. The relaxation response also increases the available level of serotonin, a chemical in the body that affects emotions and thoughts. It may also decrease the physical effects of stress and the risks that come with it, such as anxiety, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, insomnia, fatigue, digestive disorders and psychological issues.

One of the most incredible benefits of this hospice massage is the patient feels loved, cared for. And therapists who opt for this often report a sense of deep satisfaction, knowing they are helping their patients achieve a sense of peace and comfort.

Contact Unity First Hospice

Our hospice care team knows the value of massage therapy in the hospice setting. To learn more about our services, please contact us at (323) 328- 8103.

  1. https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/patient-stories/massage-therapy-the-right-touch-for-hospice-patient
  2. https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/massage-therapy/how-does-massage-work

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