LIWS Massage School: An In-Patient Massage Experience


As soon as I entered the room I could feel the sadness…

Learn to become a Massage Therapist at Lourdes LIWSThe patient, a female, perhaps  in her late 40’s sitting up in her hospital bed, a visitor, maybe her husband, sitting next to the bed.   Her eyes were swollen, she had been crying.   I introduced myself and explained that I had students from our massage program on the floor and that we received medical clearance to offer her a massage to lower her stress, help her sleep, and try to help her feel better.

She looked overwhelmed, so I went on to explain it could be as simple as a neck and shoulder rub, something to deal with the stress of being in the hospital.

She burst into tears,  “They’re cutting off my leg tomorrow”.

I had encountered a similar situation about 2 years previously, with a woman who was only in her 30’s.  She had asked if I would massage the leg she was about to lose.  It was a profoundly moving experience, almost like saying goodbye to a loved one who was dying.

But today, I wasn’t sure how to proceed.   I asked her if she thought some gentle touch would sooth her, but that seemed to just overwhelm her more.  I realized I had interrupted some intensely personal time between her and her visitor.  I told her I would check back later, I didn’t want to pressure her.

Each time I walked by her room,  the door was either closed, or she had another visitor, and I didn’t want to interrupt.  Finally, I got the chance to re-enter the room with one of my students.  Again, she seemed overwhelmed at the thought of a massage.  Or maybe it was having total strangers witness her suffering.   I was about to wish her well and leave the room when my student turned to me and said “I’ll handle this.  I just want to sit with her and hold her hand”.   I took the hint and left the room.

She eventually allowed my student to massage her hands and arms.  I don’t know how much good we did her that day, but my student told me later how blessed she was to be there with that women, a woman she didn’t know, and who she would probably never meet again.

These are the wonderful experiences at Lourdes Institute of Wholistic Studies Massage Therapy School.

Ralph is a 2006 graduate of Lourdes Institute of Wholistic Studies and is a NJ licensed massage practitioner. He is certified in medical massage and maintains a private practice in Merchantville, specializing in Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, and Seated Chair Massage.