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Living with a terminal illness! What can I expect from a specially trained Massage Therapist?

What can I expect from a specialist trained therapist?

We know first hand of the worries and physical and mental symptoms, which are part of having any condition whether it be cancer, a life limiting condition such as arthritis, lung diseases, neuromuscular, this list goes on.

What you can be assured of is their specialist training that is client focused at every stage from a START with touch trained specialist therapist.

How exactly will my treatment differ and how can you address my concerns?

Starting with what I like to call the ‘Big 5’. Which are the most common side effects we hear about time and again, we translate these into concerns for our treatment plan to make sure you receive a safe nurturing treatment.

For instance the ‘Big 5’ is where we measure your scores levels for our research and have over the last 2 decades proven this and other research myself. In 2006, working within a hospice environment with patients and carers we significantly

Reduced the levels of Stress at home and work

Pain levels,

Anxiety and depression and

Improved Sleep quality

Energy levels


You may have had recent surgery or receiving therapy such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, then your therapist will be able to take the necessary safety precautions such as using extra PPE as your immune system could be compromised at these time and strict hygienic practices would be followed. Clean bedding is used and laundered above a 60 degrees wash. Disposable couch roll, face covers spatulas and strict hand washing procedures followed. Sometimes depending on where you’ve agreed and planned to be massaged that day if your therapist is working on your body or feet and then going to your face or head, they will again wash their hands but this will all be discussed at your consultation.

There should be no surprises for anyone going for any treatment in the middle of receiving it. Communication is key to allow you to relax and just enjoy! That goes for anyone healthy if you go to a salon and there is no consultation about turn!

A consultation not only provides us with your medical history but key information about your likes and dislikes, where you want to be touched and not. On our consultation we have a body picture you can just mark with an x. From there we can look at your medical history which may be complex, I know mine is. The START with touch training takes medical concerns and turns them into massage concerns which then go into the last section on your consultation for called the APP Formula™ box.

APP Formula™ box

Stands for AVOID, POSITION (Including Towel Origami™ bolstering) & PRESSURE (Including the routines )

Example-If a client has nodes removed they would be classed at risk of lymphedema and your therapist would adjust their pressure to 3 which is above the muscle depth, direction of strokes in the affected quadrant would drain towards the working nodes using a special massage technique and maybe raise a limb using the towel origami™  bolstering techniques.

Remember you would have been told if anything gets worse, pain, redness or swelling to contact a medical professional. Your therapist may see you more than your medical team and be a point of referral if they see changes in you such as skin fragility, infections, swellings or yourself reporting something. They will ask what is normal for you and if anything has changed, if it has they will be a point of referral and ask you to make contact with your specialist nurse or another medical professional.

Speaking from experience as a specialist therapist, researcher and tutor. Now advocating as a patient the benefits of receiving therapies from a specialist therapist has had on my life, reducing the severity of my symptoms, making me more comfortable and quality of life better!

Maureen Bonner June 2023

I was told in summer 2019 I had 1 year to live as my lung capacity within 6 months had deteriorated rapidly to 26% at that point. Without specialist therapists providing complementary therapies and distant healing. Also following a life of self-healing practices including crystal therapy, meditation, aromatherapy and reiki and energy healing and changing my diet, I honestly do not think I would be here today but not just existing, having a wonderful life full of purpose. Picture in my happy place my garden!

Follow me on YouTube “Maureen Bonner living with NSIP diary”

Find a therapist details coming soon!