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Hospice Massage Therapy

Person holding the hand of a smiling patient in a hospital bed

In most types of medical care, the goal is to cure the underlying issue that is causing symptoms or pain. Hospice care is unique. When a patient is terminally ill, their disease cannot be cured. Instead, the goal of care is to relieve pain, manage their symptoms, and care for their emotional and spiritual needs.

Massage therapy is a type of complementary care that can help make a patient more comfortable as they reach the end of their life. HICI Go offers online courses on the theory and practice of hospice massage for practitioners throughout the United States. In addition to online learning, in-person instruction is available through HICI Go’s partner institutions in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

What Is Hospice Massage Therapy?

Also known as palliative massage, hospice massage is a gentle treatment offered for individuals who are terminally ill. A hospice massage therapist uses soft and gentle touches to help calm the client and relax their muscles. The therapist may use several different types of massage techniques depending on the patient and their underlying conditions. These may include:

  • Aromatherapy: Massage therapists may use essential oils or other scents to help create a calming environment.
  • Acupressure: Grounded in traditional Chinese medicine, this technique applies pressure at specific points on the client’s body to release muscle tension.
  • Breathwork: Some therapists take clients through a series of breathing exercises to help regulate their mental and emotional state.
  • Lymphatic drainage massage: Certain illnesses and medical treatments can cause lymphatic fluid to build up in the body. Gentle manipulation can help reduce swelling in the arms and legs.
  • Reiki: This form of energy healing was first developed in Japan and is now practiced worldwide. Unlike other massage techniques, Reiki is largely hands-off – the practitioner may move their hands above the client but not actually touch them.

During a palliative massage session, the therapist may provide a full body massage, or they may focus on specific areas, such as the client’s hands or feet.

The role of a hospice massage therapist is to be a healing and calming presence. A massage session can simply provide a space for the client to relax while processing their emotions and experience. Hospice massage can ease physical discomforts, as well as enhance the client’s quality of life in a palliative care setting.

Benefits of Hospice Massage

Dealing with a terminal illness can be emotionally overwhelming, both for the client and for their loved ones. Ideally, hospice massage therapy can help bring a sense of peace and calm while reducing anxiety. The benefits of palliative massage include:

  • Calming the autonomic nervous system and reducing anxiety
  • Alleviating soreness and relaxing stiff muscles
  • Helping mitigate the side effects of medications
  • Helping the client enter a state of deep relaxation
  • Reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation
  • Improving circulation
  • Decreasing nausea
  • Facilitating restful sleep

Some practitioners may also offer massage therapy services to the loved ones of someone in hospice care. Recognizing that caregiving can take a physical and emotional toll on the body, offering massage therapy to these individuals can help improve their mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

Continuing Education Courses at HICI Go

Adding palliative massage into their skill set can help licensed practitioners serve a wider range of client needs. At HICI Go, we offer massage continuing education courses for therapists who want to learn new tools and techniques. There are three delivery methods for courses:

  • Video courses: These online courses allow you to work at your own pace and earn continuing education units (CEUs) at a time that’s convenient for you.
  • Webinars: You can register for courses delivered as live webinars through HICI Go.
  • In-person courses: HICI Go provides in-person courses in Florida, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas through Cortiva Institute and Hollywood Institute, our nationally accredited partner institutions.

Students who enroll at Cortiva Institute or Hollywood Institute will receive an account to access online instruction at any time. However, you don’t need to be a current student or a licensed practitioner to learn through HICI Go – registration is open to anyone who would like to learn more about massage therapy.

Learn Massage Techniques In-Person or Online

With an extensive catalog of massage, wellness, and beauty courses, HICI Go serves professionals, students, and casual learners throughout the U.S. Beyond massage courses, we offer instruction in:

In-person courses are available through our partner schools at campuses in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Additionally, any student enrolled at Cortiva Institute or Hollywood Institute will receive a HICI Go account so they can access all our online course content. To learn more or register for a massage therapy course, contact us today.