Issue 7

Receiving a Hand Massage

The Geoff.B Report

I was asked to write a short piece about my experiences of receiving a hand massage from Val Stead, at one of our Men´s Group meetings. The topic of massage itself came up in previous discussions at the group when we were talking about treatments other than medication.

We´ve discussed various topics within the group, ranging from the effects of medication, what facilities there would be in the "new" clinic, the different types of "talking treatments", and the availability of information leaflets (just speak to any of the ward clerks about this one).

The meetings are informal and we usually have a cuppa with a piece of cake (if Andy hasnt eaten it all!!).

I volunteered to be the "crash test dummy" for the hand massage as there are still a few issues regarding what alternative treatments with patients can actually be used in the various parts of the Trust.

Throughout the massage I tried to keep talking to everyone to let them know what the experience felt like, and the effect it was having on me.

Val was very good, explaining to all of us what she was doing, what the oils were, and the different massage techniques. The biggest problem I had was trying to engage my brain to keep talking, the urge to just "chill" and simply feel the massage was overwhelming. It wasn´t that it made me feel sleepy, rather it focused all your attention onto the experience of the touch on your hands and arms. At one point I tried to consciously be aware if I found the experience intrusive, but it simply felt reassuring, a bit like when someone holds your hand when you´re anxious (I still have to have my hand held when I go to the dentist, so I am a bit of an expert on this!!).
One of our group members, Steve, took my pulse before the massage and it was around 72 beats per minute. When Steve took my pulse again at the end of the session, it had dropped to about 54!!

The worst part of the session came at the end, when Val stopped. There was an incredible sense of just wanting it to continue, but she told me she would have to charge me £40 an hour!!

(I guess Geoff's pulse went beyond 72 beats having had that news. WebEd)

My lasting impression of the experience is one of being very aware of what was going on around me, but at the same time very, very relaxed.

The Men´s Group is hoping to discuss the issues of alternative therapies again in the near future, hopefully this time with a representative from the Trust being present, as everyone in the group felt that offering hand massage to patients within the clinic would be an excellent way to help cope with stress.

And hopefully we won´t have to pay!!

Geoff. B