Archive for tag: special populations

NUHS Grads Featured in News Segment on Healing Power of Touch

Two NUHS massage therapy grads, Janet Ziegler ('09) and Dorothy Topounova ('09), were featured in a recent news segment on the healing power of touch.

Here is a link to the full article on "The Science of Touch," while below is the news segment from WGN's Living Healthy Chicago.

The best news is that Janet Zeigler also teaches in the massage therapy program at NUHS, offering a class on healing touch for special populations, including massage therapy in hospice settings.

Bringing massage therapy to wider populations, such as those in hospice or suffering from dementia, is just one way our grads are defining the future of integrated health care.

Massage for Seniors

Since baby boomers will be the largest population group seeking health care over the next few decades, it's important for today's massage therapist to understand how massage can help seniors, and what special needs they may have. Unlike years past, today's seniors may be more familiar with massage and more open to seeking massage for pain and stress relief.


However, bringing the benefits of massage to seniors requires special consideration: For example, certain stretching and joint mobility exercises are not advised for older adults. An older person might have difficulty with osteoarthritis as well as decreased flexibility. Changes in older clients' skin will require you to reduce your pressure during a massage.

In National University's massage therapy programs, you'll explore how to address the needs of special populations like senior citizens. That way you'll be ready to work with the largest group of US health care consumers!

In the meantime, the American Massage Therapy Association has two excellent articles about massage therapy that discuss the special considerations of seniors:

Heart Touch Massage

Shawnee Isaac Smith had a very good friend and fellow body worker who was dying of AIDS. As you may assume, many friends and family members were uncomfortable visiting or touching him. Shawnee decided to offer a weekly massage session to him, and just to be touched, he told her, made him feel human again. Shawnee, through massage, found a way to comfort her friend in the biggest struggle of his life.

Spawned by that experience, the Heart Touch Project was formulated. The Heart Touch Project is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the training and delivery of compassionate and healing touch to homebound or hospitalized men, women and children. The organization uses professional volunteers to bring comfort to seriously ill patients in California.

Heart Touch is also expanding its outreach services across the United States through its Heart Touch Training Program, a three-day course designed to teach bodywork practitioners how to work with clients with difficult medical needs.

For more information, visit

Massage for PTSD!

SoldierPost Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) plagues no group more than soldiers who have served in combat. As a massage therapist, you can step forward to help ease the soldiers' suffering by using the power of touch.

One professional organization providing massage to overstressed and traumatized client populations is the American Massage Therapy Association. They serve disaster-relief workers, victims of domestic violence and returning U.S. military vets.

Massage Emergency Response Teams are administered by state and local chapters. To locate a chapter contact the national office at 847-864-0123 or

(Deb adds "Be sure to read about NUHS' acupuncture clinic for combat veterans with PTSD!)