My 41 years of experience as a deep tissue bodyworker and my love and compassion for others led me to do the Compassionate Touch training after caring for both of my parents in their final illnesses and through their passings. I became starkly aware that the elderly, and those living with chronic disease and pain and disability often experience a lack of caring touch. Many receive very little touch at all except during assistance with activities of daily living or when being transferred in and out of bed or chair. Research shows that in the elderly, touch deprivation leads to loneliness, helplessness, boredom, withdrawal, depression, repetitive behaviors, restlessness, agitation, and pain, all of which may mean more care and more medication for pain and behavior management. The same probably holds true for the chronically ill as well.
Let's treat this population of those in need of tender care with more respect and love, when it counts most.........now....
I feel this is a vital service for so many people that simply cannot afford to receive this type of care. I had been hired by one of our local hospice organizations here in Flagstaff to provide this service to some of their patients, and they were thrilled with the results and the extra service they could provide for the patients. But, as is true in our healthcare system these days, the powers that be decided they didn't want to pay for this service anymore, despite the benefits to the suffering clients. I have approached most of the care facilities and the other hospice organizations in town, and although many were impressed with the potential for their patients, none of them want to either pay for it, or even be willing to disseminate the information on a private-pay basis.
So, here's my thinking... If I could find the money to pay my salary for a $50/half-hour session, I could provide the service to whomever would benefit from this work, free of charge. I'm positive that if I could bring in my own funding to help these people, then I'm sure the local organizations would be happy to refer their patients to me as well. I will also approach the doctors in town that deal with gerontology patients, chronic pain sufferers, and pain management, and see if they would also be willing to refer those in need under their care. I will request from each participant a simple checklist, to be filled out after a few of my sessions, to document the efficacy of the work, their objective and subjective observations, and any further feedback and testimonials. I will keep accurate records of each person seen, and how often, to further gather data on this work for a possible future article in one of our professional magazines. I have most of the supplies needed for me to go to homes and facilities, so the money would mainly be used for the sessions themselves, other than to resupply lotions, pillows, blankets, etc. The money will be kept in a separate account that will only be used for the Compassionate Touch work, separate from my massage business.
I am a long-time Flagstaff resident and a certified Compassionate Touch practitioner and a state-licensed massage therapist. I was a certified elementary teacher with a Masters and 17 years in the classroom when I suffered a couple of debilitating back injuries, by which deep tissue massage helped me to recover. After going to massage school, I began the massage program at the Flagstaff Athletic Club and ran the program from 1984-2016. I also worked on the Gore massage team for awhile, through several local chiropractors, and taught basic massage through the medical assistant program though College America. I have also maintained my private massage office in downtown Flagstaff since 1987. You can read more about me and the work I do at the following websites:
Compassionate Touch Janus' massage website
Please help me help these people who are in such need of tender care. We will all reach this point sooner or later, so maybe by my helping to advance this type of work, it will be more readily available in the future. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter. I hold all of you in my heart...and hands....and shower you with blessings for your generosity.
- Sybil Hudson
- Janice Dougherty
- Janice Dougherty
- The Carroll Family
- Dee Brewer