In my 36 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist, my practice mainly consists of families. If you ask me why, I will have to say that it sort of happened as natural course of things.

Because my massage practice takes me into people’s homes, I get to interact with everyone in the household. From parents, children, grandparents to all of the family pets, everyone wants a soothing massage. This aspect of working with Families is not only special, but it also means that a decade or so later I am working on the children’s children when they have their own family. I can relate to ministers who tend to their communities, or the family physician with their practice. I love the intimate connections I have in my community by being there for my families in good times and bad.

In addition  to my massage practice I also work at a senior day care facility.

We serve families who need for supervision for their loved ones. The people who come to Sara Care are there for a host of different reasons. Some of them have dementia, others are in need of assistance due to a variety of disorders or aging.

At Sarah Care, we have a small, close staff and when something happens to one of us it happens to all of us. When you are a caregiver as a profession, often you are usually one in your family as well. The family depends on you to navigate hospitalizations and medicines or other things. It is understood we will serve our families; in fact, we would have it no other way.

Within our small group of caregivers, we all find comfort in various ways. One of us is a nurse who relates to Native American rituals, some follow the Catholic religion and others are protestant, then there is me. I am spiritual, an empath, curious, always on the lookout for ways to promote healing   and homeopathic remedies to ease people’s discomfort. It is my choice to agree with all of them and to be glad they have a source of comfort whichever they choose. 

Recently one of my dear coworkers called me and she was sobbing so hard I could hardly understand her. Her husband had an accident and his leg was badly broken. When this occurred she directed the ambulance to take him to the closest hospital. He was treated for his injury then home in a day or two. What she was unaware of is that just  five miles north from where she had him taken is a hospital with a trauma specialist who would have handled her husband’s injury much differently. His leg was much worse than first noticed and he needed   care. My poor friend felt guilty for not sending him to the right place and now he might be facing an amputation.

When someone is stunned and overwhelmed, things can look pretty bleak.

At these moments I try to give some perspective. I told my friend, ok well if amputation is what needs to happen at least he will no longer be in pain and they’ve made great strides in prosthetics and surgical training. Let us stare the worst case scenario down and deal with it.  Next, if they can save the leg what  must be done to ensure he heals properly.

When  trauma occurs in the body the lymphatic system will go into shock. There is more volume of lymph fluid  in the body than there is  blood. When the lymphatic system is not working, and the body gets very swollen looking it is frightening because we intuitively know it that swelling is a sign that something is wrong.

 I explain to my friend that she is going to be responsible for waking up the lymphatic system in her husband. It is the very part of our complex biological network which has the valuable responsibility of helping the body relieve itself of infection. I reminded her that when she has had surgery, I did a lymphatic massage on her and I had also    that for her son when he had asthma attack that was not responding well to treatment.

I reminded her of how to do it and I sent her some YouTube videos I had found that were performed by physical therapist so she can have a greater understanding of what she was doing. She started treating him right away even before he had to go in for the surgery to undo some of the previous things that were done incorrectly. That’s when  the doctor had warned her that he may have to do an amputation.

While she was working on her massage technique, I whipped up a batch of my famous broth which has been known for helping people in recovery from surgeries before. In the meantime, our spiritual group of women from work with began saying their own prayers and visualizing her husband having a healthy leg again. I reminded our friend that we had all been together and done great work before. Helping each other’s family with prayer and whatever kind of treatments or knowledge that we had to arm ourselves with. Together that we were all praying that the doctor had steady hands and that his nursing team would have the energy provided to help give him the best care that they could.

Sometimes when you are faced with a situation that you feel you cannot control or do a whole lot with you have to ask yourself what can I do? Rather than fret over what you cannot do, focus on what is within your control. Pray for a positive outcome. Stop thinking negative thoughts. Put aside the blaming and carrying on about things you can’t change and just powerfully and intentionally do what you can.

Thought is energy and energy can get stuck or it can flow. At this point we were all flowing in the direction of love and support of our fellow caretaker and her husband. She continued to do the treatments after his surgery and was pleased to see his leg has significantly reduced swelling and improved overall. When she told me with a smile on her face that he was improving nicely, I could not explain the blissful joy that filled my heart. Some people would call that a God moment. I felt like I had a huge surge of love like you see in a movie. I was so relieved to know that we could still be effective even though we were faced with this difficult situation. When you try to stay at the highest vibration you can, that is when you are the closest to God and that is when you can be the most effective in helping people. There is no greater joy or satisfaction then being of assistance in this way.

We are continuing to pray for our friend’s husband as he will have a long recovery. I think the assurance that her kindness and care he felt when she was working on him made him feel confident and hopeful that he could recover from this. When someone is very injured or sick, they are frightened and there is nothing more healing than the touch of their loved ones as they care for them.

This is an example of why I say love is a verb and verb is an action word. Take action and arm yourself with knowledge and do the very best you can and when you do that that’s when you’ll understand the meaning of working on a spiritual level namaste.

Valentina Boonstra

Massage therapist/ Caregiver