By Josh Casey

My initial education in massage taught me that cancer was a contraindication. A human with cancer was a human not to be touched. Since beginning my work in oncology massage in hospitals in 2011, I have had the honor of sharing massage with thousands of cancer patients. I am the senior massage therapist at the Knight Cancer Institute in Portland, Oregon.

I live in a world of masks, gloves, and gowns, where most human touch is in order to take a blood draw, give a shot, or access a port to administer chemotherapy or infuse stem cells. It’s a world that rarely feels gentle and even more rarely feels good, a world where the nursing staff is so spread thin the one thing they are guaranteed to never have is time to spend with a patient. As massage therapists, we know our touch brings a myriad of amazing qualities, and I feel the most important thing our touch carries is our humanity. When we reach out and touch someone, they know they are not alone. We can share in the fear and the joy, the hope and the mourning. When there is no right thing to say, we go beyond words. If there was ever any doubt in the power of touch, a day in my world reveals all the proof you’d ever need. We cannot deny touch to the most sick and vulnerable of our neighbors, as it is the sick and vulnerable who need our touch the most.

MASSAGE IS FOR EVERYBODY AWARDS! – Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals

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