Justice Centered Care for Caregivers

Overview of Class

This class is designed to help massage therapists serve caregivers who care for a family member with a chronic illness or disability.  Caregivers are an at risk group for stress related illnesses due to the emotional and physical toll of the caregiving.  This class is based on my research and practice serving caregivers.  Students in this class will learn how Social Determinants of Health create health disparities for caregivers in marginalized populations.  The Broaden and Build Theory of Positive Emotions is taught as an evidenced based method to promote Massage Therapy as a tool to minimize stress-related illnesses for caregivers.  The goal is to provide Massage Therapists with justice centered resources to help caregivers understand why self-care is essential for their own health as well as the person they care for.

Instructional Methods

The learning outcomes of these sessions will be achieved through a combination of lecture, discussion, and interactive activities.  I have detailed power points that delineate theoretical concepts, I offer vignettes to provide a foundation for discussion, and I developed activities to use as a bridge between theory and practice.  Specific massage techniques will be taught to demonstrate how caregivers can practice self-massage techniques during high stress situations.  Reciprocal massage techniques will be also be taught for caregivers and care receivers to share with each other. 


·      Participants will learn how Social Determinants of Health create health disparities among marginalized populations, and how caregiving exacerbates health disparities.

·      Participants will be able to identify at least 3 stress related illnesses associated with caregiving which negatively affect long term health and quality of life.

·      Participants will identify at least 3 biologically measurable effects of massage.

·      Participants will be able to identify typical stress barometers in caregivers and learn how to help caregivers increase perceived control when stress triggers are activated.

·      Participants will be able to demonstrate how to teach caregivers 4 basic massage strokes and explain the biological purpose for each stroke.

·      Participants will learn the tenets of the Broaden and Build Theory and identify how Massage Therapy elicits positive emotions.

·      Participants will explain how the mental health of care recipient and caregiver are connected.

·      Participants will learn how reciprocity is essential for trust, and that massage can be used to build trust between caregiver and care receiver.