How Massage Heals Grief

When you’re sad and someone hugs you — a heartfelt-lingering-hug that says, I care about you, I know your’re hurting — it feels comforting. Like a cup of the best hot chocolate on a cold rainy day, it makes life a little more tolerable.

I was a massage therapist and Reiki practitioner for 17 years, then went back to school and coupled my massage practice with grief counseling. It was magic. In this technological world, we are losing the power of touch and the healing effects it has on the human spirit especially with grief.

That feeling of grief that you feel in your heart, lungs or anywhere in your body is visceral. Yet, if you went to a doctor for this pain, how could they begin to understand?

Massage Can be Calming

First, you’re not crazy! Second, I can confirm this from my own loss and the words I hear from others that these feelings should never be taken lightly.  Simple statements like my heart hurts, or I feel like I can’t breathe is not uncommon. A therapeutic massage, like Swedish is gentle and calming. With a little aromatherapy, a low-lit room, a heated massage table and a good therapist coupled with grief counseling, you can find your way through grief.

Grief can make us feel all alone in the world. A massage like I just described, and a counselor, can bring peace to a broken heart for all kinds of grief. In my experience, grief needs to move. If it doesn’t, I promise it will find you. It cannot be packed and stored somewhere in the body. My own mom lost her dad at 11 years old; I will never forget when her grief found her in her 40’s.

Touch is a Gift

The world does not stop for grief, we feel we must keep going, but truly it is the opposite.  I was so lost when my mom died. I was very aware of the anxiety and depression in my life without her. Mother’s Day was a huge trigger; seeing other daughters with their moms was also a trigger for me. Getting a massage and having a certifiable grief counselor was so helpful for me. Not all psychologists know how to help a client with grief, so find someone who specializes in grief then schedule a good massage.

Humans are hardwired for connection. As a human race, we are getting away from this powerful gift that is inherent to the human experience.

Touch can be a powerful healer especially if you are battling with your grief alone.

Wishing you peace on your journey.

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Nina Impala

NINA IMPALA is a highly intuitive multifaceted individual. This she combines with professional education in the End-of-Life Field. Certified by The American Academy of Bereavement for Spiritual Facilitation for the Terminally Ill, Nina also holds a BA in Human Services, is a graduate of Mueller College of Holistic Studies, Author of Dearly Departed What I Learned About Living From the Dying, and a Reiki Master Teacher. Currently she is the Bereavement Coordinator and Counselor for Gentiva Hospice in San Diego, California. For well over 19 years Nina has worked passionately in the hospice field using her gifts visiting the dying and educating families. In addition to working with hospice patients and their families Nina has also assisted families through tragic deaths. Nina works passionately helping them to understand that as much as we would like to have all the answer to the big questions accepting that we don't can be a big hurdle. Nina feels,finding peace in these situations is the greatest gift you can give to another human being. Nina lives in the San Diego area and can be reached at

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