[ Metta Massage Therapy [
500 Route One, Suite 10, Yarmouth, ME 04096
(207) 831-8067

Bruce A. Hopkins, LMT

"My oncologist told me I was in for a year of hell.  He was right.
But no matter how rotten I felt, I was never more than
six days from my next weekly massage."
Cancer patient and massage client





Cancer and Massage Newsletter
For Patients and Professionals
  Issue #6 -
December, 2005

Happiness is not a destination but the journey.
Dealing with cancer is both destination and journey.
Medicine focuses on the quality of the destination.
Massage focuses on the quality of the journey.
Bruce Hopkins

Recently I've been asked......

Q:  Why do you specialized in massage for cancer patients?

A:  Willie Sutton, the notorious bank robber of the 1930's, was asked "Why do you rob banks?"  He replied "Because that's where the money is."  I choose to work with cancer patients because that's where I can make the most difference. 

Every day my clients teach me more about the "collateral damage" of cancer treatments:  "I'm bone-weary.  I can't leave the couch.  I'm stressed.  I'm fuzzybrained.  I can't remember.   I can't relax.  I can't sleep.  I'm nauseous.   I'm constipated.  I can't eat.  I'm anxious.  I'm scared.  I'm worried.  I'm obsessed with my cancer.  I'm sad.  I'm depressed.  I feel helpless.  I hurt.  I ache.  I burn.  I tingle.  I itch and prickle.  I'm numb.  I'm balding.    I'm disfigured.  I am scarred.  I feel pulled and twisted.  I'm puffy.  I'm swollen.  I feel estranged.  I am isolated.   I'm out of touch with my body.  I feel that my body has betrayed me.  I don't look forward to anything.  I have no control over my life.  I feel like I'm trapped in a giant medical machine."

As massage gently draws mind and body together in the present moment each client finds that some issues become less important .... and others fade away entirely. This can't been accounted for by double blind, placebo controlled medical science.  It is what mothers have always known - caring touch facilitates the healing process.  Mothers instinctively know the importance of attending to the quality of the journey.

Q:  You close your massage sessions in an unusual way.  Why is that?

A:  Most massages end with "Thank you - take your time" and a click of the door.  To me this translates as, "Ready or not, now you need to take responsibility for staying awake and for getting yourself off the table."  This is a major disconnect after the client and I have spent 75 minutes working toward a state of profound relaxation.

Instead, at the end of the massage I softly say "Namaste"* and sit down beside the table to hold the space the client and I have created until (s)he finds the way back from wherever (s)he may be.  If the client drifts off  I open my water bottle or shuffle my feet a bit.  When (s)he returns we may exchange a few words, sometimes more than a few, and when I am dismissed I leave. This is a more holistic and satisfying closing for us both.

*Namaste is both the act and the word of acknowledgement used by Hindus conveying, "The part of God that lives in me acknowledges and honors the part of God that lives in you."  Click here to learn more about Namaste.

Q:  What do you think about while you are working?

A:  I can't draw, sing, act or write poetry. But I have discovered a creative impulse I can't name.  It is as if I have touch equivalents for concepts such as meter and melody; color and texture; foreground and backgrond; motif and reprise. For me massage is akin to  composing a 75 minute symphony which is performed once for an audience of one.

Massage is meditation.  Of the 75 minutes I may spend 70 totally focused on the moment.  Time stands still on both sides of the table.  When finished, I sit silently, filled with gratitude for the moment, for the work I am privileged to do and for the oneness of life. 

The Perfect Holiday Gift
Massage is the perfect holiday gift for friends, loved ones, or even yourself - anyone whose life is stressed by cancer.   One size fits all.  Guaranteed to be the right color.   Call 207-831-8067 to order your gift certificates.  (If the recipient has not used a certificate after six months, you will be notified and have the choice of reminding the recipient or using the certificate yourself.) 

Cancer Massage Is Affordable
Massage can make a profound difference in quality of life for someone dealing with  cancer - no one should be deprived of the benefits.  To that end, my  suggested regular rate is $60 for 75 minutes on the table;  $45 for cancer patients, their caregivers, and family members and $35 for patients currently in treatment.  Please pay less if this strains your budget.  Thank you for paying more if you are moved to support this work.  I only ask that you pay in proportion to the benefits you receive and to your resources.

Bruce A. Hopkins, LMT

Afterword: From the Cancer Massage Library

News Release - October 24, 2005

Evanston, IL — Approximately forty-seven million adult Americans received a massage within the past year, according to results of a new consumer survey released today by the American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) ....

The nationwide survey also reveals that, among those who received a massage for pain relief, the same percentage of respondents (28 percent) ranked massage therapy and medication as bringing the greatest relief from pain ....

The survey also shows increases in the number of healthcare providers who promote the benefits of massage to their patients. Twenty-one percent of consumers surveyed said they had discussed massage therapy with their doctor or other healthcare provider, up from 14 percent in 2002. When asked who recommended massage therapy, sixty percent of respondents said a physician, followed by a physical therapist (50 percent) and a chiropractor (38 percent).

“Along with massage therapy’s continued popularity for relaxation and stress relief, this year’s survey findings show higher numbers of consumers turning to massage therapy for pain relief than we’ve ever seen before,” said Mary Beth Braun, president of AMTA. “We continue to see that physicians and pain management experts find massage to be effective in relieving pain. And, consumers are continuing to see the health benefits of including massage therapy in their regular health regimen. Clinical research shows that massage is an effective therapy in reducing pain following a variety of medical treatments, from open-heart surgery, to cancer. It has also proven to be more effective than other complementary therapies in reducing chronic back pain. This year’s survey only reinforces the confidence people have in massage.”

Full text: http://www.amtamassage.org/news/102405consurvey.html

"May you be at peace.  May your heart remain open.
May you awaken to the light of your own true nature.
May you be healed.  May you be a source of healing

to all beings."                              The Metta of the Buddha

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Copyright © 2005
by Bruce A. Hopkins