Grief and Massage Therapy

Posted on July 25th, 2014 by Shari´ Parks

Bereavement is often thought of as the mourning of a death; however the process of grieving can be applied to many other life-changing events. Some include divorce, job loss, financial loss, or other changes in physical circumstances or relationships. Aging, itself, is a process involving many changes, including losses for which a person may grieve. A person living with chronic illness or disability may undergo an extensive process of grieving over the loss of health or function.

Grief can be experienced as physical pain and has been described in many ways as a dull, aching, stinging, biting, sharp, pressure, contracted, or constricted. Any or all of these reactions are normal parts of grieving. Just as people are individual in how they respond to everyday stresses and challenges of life, so will they respond in different ways to loss. Some feelings or reactions may be fleeting. Others will be of persistent intensity.

Massage therapist best serves grieving individuals by allowing them to be present with their feelings. It is not necessary to diagnose bereaved people or judge their process; it is most respectful to simply be present and listen, acknowledging the significance of their experiences. When a client seems to be exhibiting reactions or behaviors outside of a normal range, they are then referred to a mental health professional.

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