Before starting my practice, I spent just over thirty years in nursing. I thought I knew if not most of what there is to know about myalgic encephalomyelitis certainly enough for my needs as an aromatherapist. That view has today been challenged by a Facebook post, an article in The Independent and a film, Unrest.
But, bear in mind, everyone with this condition is different. What is clear to me is that this condition is primarily physical in its aetiology. It is not, “Yuppie Flu” or an excuse to stay in bed. It is real!
Sadly while there have been advances in the understanding of this illness, science is still not close to fully understanding the mechanisms involved and even further from a cure. The current reconsiderations of CBT and graded exercise do no or little better than chance according to the available research. The latter however is damaging to some and makes their condition significantly worse. In the film, one sufferer describes it as being like a battery that only charges up to ten per cent. One doctor in the film suggests that aerobic exercise is fine but the body doesn’t have the reserves to move into the anaerobic phase so there is a very small window of exercise that is OK. Though clearly some in the film are at the stage where even getting out of bed is too much!
What does all this mean for me as a practitioner?
- If seeing clients with M.E. I need to be prepared to visit them rather than expecting them to come to me.
- I need to listen to them and respond accordingly. Many will only tolerate very gentle massage and may get overwhelmed easily.
- I also need to be careful with which oils I use. Strong smells may well overwhelm some.
- Back to listening, I need to get basic safety information and what they can manage. I need to be prepared to get everything in their history over several sessions if necessary and I need to be prepared to do more shorter sessions rather than my more normal ninety minute sessions if that is what is required.
- Most importantly, I need to let my clients be the experts on their own bodies and what they can manage, listen to how the illness affects them rather than what a text book says and respond to their needs based on what they tell me and accept it if their needs changes during a session.
If you know someone with M.E. who might benefit from an aromatherapy massage from a practitioner who will not tell them what they need but respond to the client’s needs contact me by email or phone.
07939273569 or firstname.lastname@example.org