I hope N.E.D. (www.nedtheband.com) will forgive me for borrowing their song title for this post, but it fits exactly what I want to say. I have been thinking about oncology massage and geriatric massage, and why I am drawn to it. I get asked this question a lot. My stock answer is : “It suits me.” I never truly tried to dissect why.
Then I saw a documentary about this amazing group of gynecological oncologists who formed a rock band called N.E.D. In the documentary, one of the doctors talked about how music could help patients find hope and optimism in the face of a devastating diagnosis. After the film, my friend and I talked about how nice it was to see physicians talk about the healing power of Art.
Which brings me back to what suits me. Art suits me. For me, the creation of any kind of art requires first a basic compassion towards and optimism about humanity. To build something new and lovely out of one’s mind and heart works best, I think, when the artist loves their audience. Even when they don’t know who their audience is. For me, massage therapy, the Art side of it, feels like a pure and tangible form of love and optimism. And working with oncology and geriatric clients magnifies that feeling. As I reach out to touch people who are often at war with their physical bodies, I find that my technical skills and scientific knowledge mean nothing if I don’t begin with love. By this I mean what Christians sometimes call “Agape,” the deep respect, care and compassion for our shared humanity.
I may not be making music like the #Rockdocs, but I am tapping into and creating rhythm. The rhythm of breath, the rhythm of movement, the rhythm of a treatment addressing and responding to a person where she is, right now. It heals.
Check out N.E.D.’s song here: