Therapeutic Touch and Physiotherapy
It was in a very busy OHIP funded Physiotherapy clinic that I first attempted to use my fledgling Therapeutic Touch skills about four years ago. A state of centredness always allowed me to listen more carefully to my client; a therapeutic neck massage was a wonderful opportunity to do some clearing and grounding; removing a hot pack and TENS unit from a client who was lying prone, easily permitted a quick clearing of the area and energizing of the adrenals.
By M. Markovich, Registered Physiotherapist
When my hands were occupied performing mobilization to the shoulder, my mind was removing blocks and restoring the energy flow.
But, when I started to make some home care visits on behalf of the clinic, I discovered how well Therapeutic Touch interfaces with physiotherapy. Mr. M was a 78 year-old male with a history of Rheumatoid Arthritis. In the fall of 1998, he was admitted to hospital with congestive heart failure and during this admission he developed Shingles.
On his discharge 11 days later, in spite of the shingles, he was feeling much better. Three weeks later , he developed bowel and bladder symptoms and began to experience bloating.
He was re-admitted to a different hospital, with abdominal haematoma sepsis.
Mr M remained on bed rest, was never ambulated and by the time he was discharged one week later, he was feeling very weak, could hardly walk and was experiencing intense pain, especially over his back. Four days after discharge, a very desperate Mr. M. called our clinic and asked for help.
Since the client had previously benefitted from therapeutic massage from another therapist at the clinic, I elected to offer this, but the shingles was spreading. When the results of a bone scan revealed recent compression fractures at T4 and T7 (he would learn months later that he also had osteoporosis), Mr M became anxious about massage in the area of the fractures and declined further treatment. This could have been the end of our therapeutic relationship in this setting, but he was still not fit enough to regularly attend out-patient physiotherapy. When I explained about TT and offered it as an alternative, the client readily accepted.
I gave 15 treatments in seven weeks. When Mr. M. developed a cough, possibly as a result of the side, effects of some of his medications, I re-introduced neck massage, as well as continuing with TT. He received a further 14 sessions over three months and along the way I recommended adjustments to the use of his contour pillow and started manual cervical traction for neck pain that seemed intractable. In the meantime, after 3 months of treatment, the shingles had virtually all cleared up. When I asked the client if I could write up a case study on him for this newsletter, I also asked him to consider all the ways he had benefitted from these treatments - the obvious and not so obvious. He had this to say: TT promoted deep relaxation. He always fell asleep for one to two hours after the treatment; not only was the back pain abolished but the leg cramps were gone as well. It reduced his anxiety and depression. In the fall, Mr. M. would have, on a scale of 1-10 (10 the worst), rated his depression at 9 or 10. Three months later he would have rated it as a 5, at which time he started taking anti-depressants. One month later, continuing with TT as well, his depression is at 2. Lastly Mr. M explained that for years, he had been regularly plagued with bad dreams, reliving old incidents involving old family members and friends. He had sought medical help for relief from these nightly intrusions into his peace of mind, but his doctor said he could not help him. Now after 26 treatments, the bad dreams are relieved, returning only occasionally. Even though I knew that TT affects people on emotional, mental and spiritual levels, this client had been in so much pain, that my intentions never went beyond pain relief and the promotion of healing of his physical afflictions. I was astounded at the depth of the man's healing. I was reminded again of how much is going on in a Therapeutic Touch session. I am working in partnership with energies of the universe that are far more powerful than I could possibly imagine when I let go of the outcome, I am giving this loving energy room to do what it needs to do.
-------- M. Markovich, R.P., lives Toronto, Ontario. and works in Etobicoke and the Region of Peel. She is a Recognized Practitioner of Therapeutic Touch.
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