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Posted by: Christine Beadle, 1 Aug 2010 2:23PM
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Massage for wheelchair users

Hi Does anyone have experience of massage services for wheelchair users? I would love to hear from you if so. Thanks. Christine Beadle


Michelle Davies
1 Aug 2010 3:36PM

Sorry Christine, I cant help you there, good luck with your replies!
Karen Lewis
1 Aug 2010 3:49PM

Hi Christine, I have been carrying out aromatherapy sessions with people with learning disabilities, at a local day services and a residential unit for just coming up 15 years. Many of the clients are in wheelchairs, and it is quite easy to offer a choice of hand and arm massage, foot and lower leg massage, or scalp, face, neck and shoulders, over a 15 or 20 minute session. The biggest problem that I have encountered is that I have to sit on a low stool and have their feet in my lap on a pillow or cushion, or on the foot-rest of the wheelchair. Despite trying to be very careful about posture, after so many years it is taking its toll on my back,neck and shoulders as some people have very heavy legs/feet, with limited movement. You or I can easily and lightly place our feet onto someone's lap, but with many wheelchair users there is an element of gentle man-handling. So nowadays I am quite relieved when someone opts for a head or hand massage as they are much easier to get to. Hope that helps. Kind Regards, Karen
Christine Beadle
1 Aug 2010 10:45PM

Thanks for your post Karen it is very helpful to hear about your experience in this field. I was intending to do hand and arm only as I did have concerns about my own posture so you have confirmed my own thoughts on this - I may take in a fit ball to balance on while doing this - some experimenting will be required I think! Did you have to get client's doctor agreement or get clients to sign anything - I am interested in hearing about the liability / disclaimer side of things as this is new to me and there are different client medical conditions to consider albeit I am sticking to hand/arm only. Any further advice welcome! Kind regards Christine
Karen Lewis
1 Aug 2010 10:56PM

Hi Christine, In the first instance I send off a consultation cum medical questionnaire to the service users' carers/family, the signing of which means that consent has been obtained for me to work with them. On receipt of the completed form I then send off a standard letter to the individual's GP explaining that they will be starting the aromatherapy sessions and if there are any reasons they shouldn't, or if there is anything they feel I should know about, to please get in touch. I've sent off about 50 of these letters now over the years and only once had a reply, and that was to say that the GP thought it would be quite a good thing. Many of my clients are on a cocktail of medication, including drugs for epilepsy, so I use only 1% dilutions of single oils, with 6 to choose from, just to be on the safe side. So far, there have never been any problems. Kind Regards, Karen
Christine Beadle
2 Aug 2010 12:02AM

Karen That answers my question perfectly! Many thanks for your kind help. Christine
Karen Lewis
2 Aug 2010 12:07AM

Christine, You are welcome. :-) Karen
Amanda Clegg
2 Aug 2010 12:58AM

I've done some work with very immobile cerebral palsy and similar clients - hoists available so carers transferred cleints from the wheelchair so I was able to work on their bed which are gas-lift hospital type, on wheels, so really easy to lift to correct height and move around. Worth asking if this is possible, as it's far better for your posture, and client gets a much better massage - I was able to work extensively on whole legs which suffered terribly from contracting hamstrings, and also back and buttocks which suffer from sitting for prolonged periods. I've also worked wiht a very elderly client (of long standing) who eventually needed hoisting (which is actually very easy if you get proper training) so we didn't need to compromise on her weekly treatments. (Sadly she died recently - but hey, at nearly 95!) Keep us posted as to how you get on love and light Amanda
Christine Beadle
4 Aug 2010 10:45PM

Thanks for sharing your experiences Amanda - it all helps me! Kind regards Christine
Christine Beadle
18 Sep 2010 1:54PM

Hi Ladies Just to update you on this...I did my first hand/arm massage session last weekend for Leonard Cheshire service users. I was a bit anxious as I had not worked with wheelchair users before. I met and treated 6 clients some with CP and 1 lady with MS...they really appreciated it and I am so pleased I have started doing this and will continue to do so. I think the 'touch therapy' and someone new to see and chat to for half an hour is a positive thing for the clients - and a privelidge for me to get to know them and understand their conditions. I understand MS is a painful condition and this lady really wanted a neck and shoulder massage which I will give next visit...so I am already adapting what I am offering. Thanks for your advice it all helped to keep me feeling confident I could do this and now I don't know what I was worried about! Love and light x
Amanda Clegg
18 Sep 2010 2:41PM

Thanks for the update - and I'm really glad you enjoy it - big scary step, but so worthwhile. MS spasms are helped hugely by massage - I have several MS clients, and find that although you sometimes need to be very gentle as massage can be a bit fatiguing, it often depends upon how they are feeling. One client I actually work on my plinth, and do a really thorough fairly deep massage on her back. Stimulation really close in to the spine is also good for her, as the small stretches to the erector spinae muscles help her flexibility, and of course that is where the nerves exit/enter the spinal column. I found lavender and pelagonium helpful. love & Light
Karen Lewis
19 Sep 2010 12:03PM

Hi Christine, Good to know you've bit the bullet and enjoyed it. The more you do, the more comfortable and confident you become, and we all know just how therapeutic touch can be. A time of one-to-one quality attention and TLC can be a powerful tonic - for all concerned. Best wishes for the ongoing sessions. :-) Kindest Regards, Karen
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