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Getting the most help

labelAs I’ve written before, no one likes to be labeled. Labels often limit a person. However, after reading the January 16, 2018, Autism Society of Indiana e-newsletter, I can see how a label can be helpful and even necessary in order to get a child with autism all the assistance he/she needs to receive the best education possible.

According to this article, which was written with the assistance of Susan Crowell, Autism Society of Indiana Rural Outreach Ally, two separate labels are needed to provide the greatest support for children with autism. Those labels are the educational evaluation label and the medical diagnosis label. The education label is conducted by the local school system and defines what kinds of assistance the child with autism will receive in the school environment. Providing by a physician, the medical diagnosis label affects how the health insurance of the parent/legal guardian of a child with autism will pay for services. This includes private insurance, insurance through an employer, and Medicaid. (Always check with your insurance company/benefits guru to determine what services are covered.)

It is important to remember that a medical diagnosis cannot be used to receive educational assistance from a school system, and, likewise, an educational label is not useful for an insurance provider.

While some parents/caregivers might be uncomfortable providing an educational label to their child with autism, it is important to remember that a child can never have enough people who support and care for him/her. It takes professionals and caring people of all backgrounds to help any child reach his/her potential, but this is most definitely true for a child with autism. Remember, the label of autism is just one aspect of a child.

As far as the medical diagnosis, children with autism often have other issues affecting their lives. To have a complete picture of a child with autism can help medical professionals refer a child with autism to certain specialists.

If you would like to talk with me about touch therapy for your child with autism, please contact me at 812-264-5482 or caringtouchmassage@yahoo.com.

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Finding happiness

Palm massage

Attribution: Lubyanka

I recently saw the movie “The Greatest Showman,” a musical about P.T. Barnum. The heart-pounding music draws one in and the choreography leaves one spellbound. However, it was at the end of the movie that a quote attributed to Barnum that has given me pause: “The noblest art is that of making others happy.”

I am blessed to be in a profession that can make people happy. I especially notice this as I give 15-minute chair massages to staff members at Union Hospital in Terre Haute. These hard working people gratefully sit on the chair and enjoy a relaxing break in their long day. When I first started providing these chair massages I was often frustrated by the short amount of time that I had with each person. Yes, I still sometimes feel frustrated, but the before and after difference that I witness in people makes me happy! And, in turn, I believe I’ve made someone else happy!

If you or a loved one of yours would like to feel a little happiness, please contact me to schedule a massage by calling 812-264-5482 or emailing caringtouchmassage@yahoo.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Feeling so alive!

foot massage

ATTRIBUTION: CREATIVE COMMONS, LUBYANKA

For the past few months I have been privileged to work with an octogenarian couple. I visit them once a week in their home and address stiff muscles, aching legs and arms, and various other soft tissue challenges. My goal every visit is that I leave them feeling better and more relaxed. But sometimes I think I feel much better than they when I leave. You see, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the couple much more intimately. They both share stories, especially about their childhood years and their early years of marriage. How I enjoy these wonderful stories. And every so often the husband gets revved up and shares hilarious jokes!

The greatest gift I receive from this couple is when the wife closes her eyes as I’m working on her feet or legs and she says that the massage makes her feel so alive. No greater compliment can I receive. I am so blessed to have this couple in my life.!

If you or a loved one of yours would like to feel the difference a massage can make, please contact me by calling 812-264-5482 or emailing caringtouchmassage@yahoo.com. I look forward to hearing from you!!

Rubbed the wrong way

No humor
I have to admit that I was very dismayed by today’s commentary by comedian Jim Gaffigan on CBS Sunday Morning. I understand that the segment was meant to be humorous, but to call massage therapists murderers is highly offensive. Yes, I read the comments on the CBS website and I know that some people think we are getting “bent out of shape” about something that is supposed to be funny, but as a licensed massage therapist, I am saddened by this commentary that disparages an entire profession.

Yes, our clients do make themselves vulnerable. But as professionals, massage therapists go to great lengths to properly drape clients and make them less anxious. And we don’t all listen to the “Avatar” soundtrack. I have one client who absolutely loves country music. It may not be my preference, but I’ve taken the time to get to know my clients, and this particular client gets country music each session!

Massages aren’t “decadent” and most aren’t expensive. I’d also like to point out that people have been practicing massage for centuries. Historical records teach us that the first written mention of massage occurred about 2000 BC. The Chinese were some of the first proponents of this healing art. There are also ancient written references to massage by the Egyptians, Persians, and Japanese. Even good ol’ Hippocrates, the father of medicine, described the healthy benefits of massage.

So, Jim Gaffigan, I invite you to widen your horizons and get a professional massage!

To find out if massage is for you, please feel free to contact me by calling 812-264-5482 or emailing caringtouchmassage@yahoo.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

A week of celebration

nurses week 2017 logo

National Nurses Week 2017 logo developed by ANA

This past week I was privileged to participate in the 2017 National Hospital Week and National Nurses Week at Union Hospital Terre Haute and Clinton, Indiana. I provided chair massages to many deserving employees of these facilities. This is the third year that I was honored to work with these dedicated professionals. It was great to be able to provide a little attention to all these people who offer so much compassion and care to others.

If you would like more information or to book a chair massage event, please contact me by calling 812-264-5482 or emailing caringtouchmassage@yahoo.com.

A natural fit

hand and foot

Attribution: creative commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/sellyourseoul/

I remember when I first started school to become a massage therapist how in awe I was at the myriad ways my hands could be used as tools. I was also amazed at how not only my hands, but my forearms, elbows, and fingers (as well as a knee once in a while) could be used to massage a client.

As I gained more practical experience in massage, I began to see how natural massage was. It seemed to me that parts of our body just “fit” with other body parts. For example, make a fist with your hand and glide it down the sole of your foot. There’s a natural fit there. If you put your hands side-by-side with the palms down and with one thumb overlapping the other thumb you get a perfect fit over someone’s calf muscle. A loose fist naturally glides down the side of one’s neck to the tip of the shoulder.

There’s a reason massage has been around for centuries. It works! Will it solve every physical or mental issue? Absolutely not! But massage can be a natural fit for many people. If you would like to see if massage is a natural fit for you, please contact me by calling 812-264-5482 or emailing caringtouchmassage@yahoo.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Just relax!

Hand massage

This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

I do many chair massages over the course of a week in medical and office settings. It always amazes me how many people don’t realize how tense they are. But then I stop and think. Tenseness and stress are the norm for the majority of us.

When someone is receiving a massage in my chair and I ask her to relax her arm you’d think I’d asked her to move a mountain! For many of us, it’s hard work to relax! And no wonder. Family schedules, work schedules, and the constant contact we have with the world through social media are enough to overwhelm anyone.

This is why I find doing chair massages so rewarding. For 10 to 12 minutes a person receiving a chair massage can actually feel sore, tense muscles release. In most cases I can see a physical change in my client’s body and face pre- and post-massage. And it’s great when I can help a person relax his shoulders down and away from his ears!

Yes, check it out yourself. Take a deep breath and exhale, and while exhaling lower your chin to your chest. I bet you didn’t realize how tight you’ve been holding your shoulders! This can be caused by a variety of stressors, but sitting at a desk behind a computer really does take a toll on one’s health.

If you would like a chair or table massage, please contact me by calling 812-264-5482 or emailing caringtouchmassage@yahoo.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thinking in patterns

sheet-music

Photo courtesy photos-public-domain.com

I enjoy solving Sudoku puzzles — the easy ones and a few medium ones! I’m not very fast, and it took me a very long time to figure out the vertical and horizontal patterns of numbers. My brain just doesn’t work that well with numbers or patterns. There’s nothing wrong with this. My strengths appear in other areas.

One day as I was working a puzzle I thought about Temple Grandin’s book, The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum. In this work, Dr. Grandin adds thinking in patterns as the third category to how people think. The other two categories are thinking in pictures and thinking in words. Some of our best pattern thinkers are mathematicians, musicians, and artists.

She writes, “The composers, of course, don’t think of their compositions in [mathematical] terms. They’re not thinking about math. They’re thinking about music. But somehow, they are working their way toward a pattern that is mathematically sound, which is another way of saying that it’s universal.”

She continues, “Mathematicians distinguish subsets of thinkers: algebra thinkers and geometry thinkers. Algebra thinkers look at the world in terms of numbers and variables. Geometry thinkers look at the world in terms of shapes.”

Well, when I was taking those classes I wasn’t thinking much about either one! And that is my point — just because I struggled thinking in those terms I still persevered and discovered a path in life that was right for me. The same is true for everyone, including children with autism. There is a place for each of us. Sometimes it just takes some of us longer to find that path. We need to know how we think and embrace the way we think. The world needs all kinds of thinkers.

If you would like to talk with me about touch therapy for your child with autism, please contact me at 812-264-5482 or caringtouchmassage@yahoo.com.

Helping a mother

louisa_may_alcott

Louisa May Alcott (Attribution: Public domain)

Imagine my surprise when I recently was reading about Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, and the topic of massage was broached. I had to do a double take as I was reading American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever. Yes, when Louisa’s mother was very ill, massage was used. Cheever writes: “Her mother was sliding into [illness], and Louisa took care of her and hired a woman to bathe and give her massages.”

Wow! This was in the 1860s. Yes, massage has always had a positive effect in lessening depression, improving sleep, easing aches and pains, and helping to promote relaxation.

Abigail May Alcott, the mother of Louisa and wife of Bronson Alcott, was a writer, reformer, and ardent supporter of Bronson, Louisa, and three other daughters. And for fans of Little Women, Abigail is the alter ego for Marmee.

If you would like to schedule a massage for yourself, a loved one, or a friend, please contact me by calling 812-264-5482 or emailing caringtouchmassage@yahoo.com.

It’s good to re-energize

ruinsRecently I took a little vacation and headed to Vicksburg, Mississippi. I enjoy learning about the Civil War, so while my traveling companions visited the many local shopping venues, I was loving the time alone to wander the National Military Park. I could go at my own pace and read and explore all that I wanted without causing pain for others! I also appreciate cemeteries and was able to visit three, including historic Beulah Cemetery, an African-American final resting place.

One little adventure that all of us enjoyed was our trip to Windsor Ruins outside of Port Gibson, Mississippi. Once a splendid plantation home, built in 1859 in part by enslaved labor, the home survived the Civil War only to be reduced to ashes by a careless smoker in 1890. All that remains today are the magnificent columns and balustrade pictured above. The ruins are now administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

When I returned home and to the massage studio I remember feeling energized. And it hit me — the break from the daily routine of life truly refreshed me. I am so thankful that I had this time away.

If you can’t take a vacation but would still like to re-energize yourself, try a massage. If you would like to schedule a massage for yourself, a loved one, or a friend, please contact me by calling 812-264-5482 or emailing caringtouchmassage@yahoo.com.