CT acknowledges that regardless of age or health, the person is still capable of, and in dire need of relationship, even if he or she does not seem to be aware of their circumstances. "It is a way of relating to a person through the power of human touch, to communicate love, trust, affection, warmth, encouragement, and acceptance. It says that the person, right here in this present moment, is important, vital, and is still their true self." says Janus. The focus is on serving, not providing care, as caregivers do. The goal is to slow things down to help everyone treasure every moment and to bring a sense of peace that says to the recipient 'you are cared for and about, you are valuable, and you are loved as you are at this very moment', while acknowledging the natural outcomes of life and death, which can also be uplifting and rewarding. CT practitioners have the heart and specialized training to nurture an individual through touch that is not related to medical care or other care needs, providing loving companionship to the ill or elderly person. Like Hudson, these loving practitioners help fill in the gaps that family, friends, and other healthcare providers cannot fill, for a variety of reasons, such as distance, time, work, family duties, and even awkwardness. These hands-on practitioners have no agenda other than being in the present in the moment with the person they are with.
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 debiltating 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.
My 41 years of experience as a deep tissue bodyworker and my love and compassion for others led me to do the CT 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....
Just as I lovingly cared for my parents, I want to bring the same loving attention to your loved ones as well. For those suffering with chronic pain, dementia, elderly concerns, or are in the final stage of life, touch gives the gifts of love, respect, worth and dignity, and supports their quality of life. The added benefits of Compassionate Touch are pain reduction, lower blood pressure and heart rate, improved circulation, softened muscular tightness and joint stiffness, a boost to the immune system, improved quality of breath and sleep by inducing the relaxation response, and reduction of anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation; but these are just added benefits to the real goal, which is to share love, closeness, tenderness, and respect.
CT can provide an avenue for communication when one is no longer able to speak; it can open a path for dissipating anxiety and fear by allowing a nonverbal way to express feelings; it provides tactile stimulation which alerts the senses and increases body awareness; it can also increase social interaction through the stimulation of caring touch.
This is truly sacred work. It is my privilege to give my loving attention to my individuals with my whole being: to listen to them with my ears, my hands, my intuition, and my heart. I am called by each and every one to be authentic and present, humble and curious, real and fragile, vulnerable and human, kind and quiet, witnessing and engaging wholly with this other human being that shares space with me for a time.
I promise I will treasure and hold gently each soul that is entrusted to my care, for these are moments of grace that I live for each day. Thank you for your trust in me. I honor you and your loved ones.