Massage therapist Deborah Faul treats an elderly patient through her specialized Compassionate Touch therapy. (Special to American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, March 20, 2017 9:20 AM
For Deborah Faul, it’s about connection.
Her senior-focused massage therapy service, she says, provides clients with respite from the pains of aging and some much-needed human touch.
“These are people who don’t always receive the validation, dignity and respect they deserve,” Faul said. “These moments I spend with them, they’re sacred moments.”
Faul operates True Balance & Tranquility, LLC, from the wellness center at The Verandah, Graywood’s assisted living facility. She meets with private clients, too, who range from bedridden to physically active.
For her older clients, she specializes in Compassionate Touch, a particular brand of therapy for elderly clients who—due to Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnoses or a need for hospice care—can’t receive traditional massages.
During 30-minute Compassionate Touch sessions, clients remain in chairs or beds—rather than lying on a massage table—while the therapist administers to hands, feet, arms, neck and other problem areas.
Even after ten minutes, Faul said, she can often see a change in patients: they’re lighter, more at peace.
She’s worked with clients suffering from arthritis and painful joints, and others recovering from strokes. Her oldest patient? 109.
Some patients have reduced their pain medication after massage therapy, she said. It can help with muscle tightness from walker or wheelchair use and improve circulation, posture, sleep and range of motion—all important during middle age and beyond.
Betty Sarver, a fitness instructor, has worked with Faul over a six-month period. Her active lifestyle calls for deep tissue massage, and she’s visited Faul for recent back injuries.
For those in pain, massage therapy can be a gateway to other medical treatment, Sarver said.
“If something doesn’t feel right, a massage therapist can tell if its a muscular problem they can help or a structural or bone problem that needs medical attention,” she said.
Faul speaks of her work, though—particularly with her oldest patients—more spiritually than medically. She transitioned to the field in mid-2014, leaving a decades-long careers as a legal assistant.
“It was placed on my heart to do this,” Faul said.
Now, she sees around four patients a day, working through their pains and simply being present, she said.
“It’s really a beautiful thing,” she said.