Passing In Peace – Massage Therapy for Your Hardest Goodbye
Massage, for both humans and animals has established itself in the medical world as a restorative healing modality with many widespread and diverse benefits. It has been reported, among other things, to reduce pain, increase circulation, relax muscle tension, and increase mobility and range of motion. But one area that may not be as widely recognized is the benefits it can have for the hospice or end of life patient.
When a beloved canine or feline family member is diagnosed with a life threatening disease, or the animal’s companion is faced with making the decision to euthanize, it is devastating for all involved. It can feel like a time of extreme helplessness and loneliness for the animal’s companion. We don’t want to see our animals suffer in pain for weeks or months and yet we don’t want to let them go.
As a professional, certified animal massage therapist I have had the honor to be present with many of my client dogs and their companions during their final days or weeks as well as during the euthanasia process. The power of touch is something that has been shown to soothe the mind and body. By using slow, gentle massage strokes on the shoulders, neck and back I have been able to help an animal relax and rest. By using gentle energy balancing techniques they can settle into a quiet place of stillness and letting go.
In addition to providing loving touch for an animal I can also offer additional advice to help to make the animal more comfortable during the hospice care period. Such advice can help with mobility issues, and unnoticed areas of pain, tenderness and stress.
I have helped animal caregivers create a space for a peaceful passing using techniques from either energy work such as Reiki, and/or massage. I have been able to offer support before, during and after the transition from life to death. Helping your beloved animal die with peace and respect is probably one of the most difficult and painful situations anyone will ever have to face. Know that you are not alone in this process and that support can be just a simple touch away.
” When our sweet, beloved German Shepherd Mia was ready to go we first called Shelley and then our vet. Shelley came over and created the most beautiful, sacred space in our house for Mia’s passing. Both Shelley and our vet worked together to make sure Mia felt safe and supported and that all went smoothly as she made her transition. A year later we still miss our girl very much but we were able to work through the grief of our loss more easily knowing that her final moments were so honored and peaceful.”