Oncology Massage and Healing Arts Conversations

The benefits of oncology massage, reviewed and researched for as long as I have been working in cancer centers as a Massage Therapist, encourage us, as Massage Therapists, to become vital support team members. Research indicates the possibilities of helping with the side effects of cancer treatment when patients, staff and physicians recognize what massage can do throughout treatment. Just as important is engaging with survivors and asking them the question, “What hobby gives you peace and comfort in difficult times?”

During massage therapy encounters in a chemotherapy unit I often have conversations with individual patients in regards to their art or craft history; painting, pottery, knitting, scrap booking, music, jewelry making, weaving, dance and other healing arts that are equally important. These conversations allow us to share our creative endeavors and serve as distraction therapy during their chemotherapy treatment. A simple lesson on the mindfulness of creative arts helps patients to realize how important it is to maintain their interests during treatment. Engaging in art keeps our brains busy with good feelings. I share how my time at a pottery wheel or on a dance floor allows me to be in the moment to be fully present to the experience which I believe for me is as good as yoga or a sitting meditation. I love inspiring each patient to fully understand how their creative energies are truly healing for them. Their creative energies can be a source of comfort and control as they go through cancer treatment. The ability to be in the moment, can brings feelings of comfort and control. The feeling of joy increases while using their creative energies, which can temporarily decrease the anxiety of cancer treatment. The hopeful end result can be good feelings of determination and recovery.

In one recent conversation a new patient told me she use to paint but with three children and a new cancer diagnosis she doubts that she will have the time. I offered a simple idea of bringing a sketchbook to her treatments and using that time in chemotherapy to draw in the sketch book. She loved the idea and I hope to see the sketchbook filled with images of what is most important to her soon. Another patient sings professionally and it is the highlight of her week to sit at a local tiki booth and sing. During her treatment cycle she might not have the energy to set up her speakers or tear her equipment down. However, she does have a supportive husband who can be her one man crew, and with that help she can still sing to her heart’s content. Another patient shares her love of art and I share how much I love creating my pottery pieces and sharing photos of my work. Conversation about art and craft history, creative energies, and being in the moment make time spent with a patient fly for both of us. I always leave a few minutes for quiet massage after we share our passions with each other. Conversations and encouragement to continue an arts and craft hobby that centers us on what we are doing at the moment, helps patients realize the importance of being in that moment during cancer treatment. With massage therapy and conversation they smile with gratitude and continue the good fight. I always encourage the Massage Therapists that I train to understand the value of these conversations with their clients, as well as have creative moments of joy for themselves.

Hobbies & Your Retirement Lifestyle (Part 3)

As I have suggested in previous articles, look for ways to reinvent yourself with new hobbies during retirement. We are living longer and healthier lives.

If you find a new hobby that you are enthusiastic about and you would like to explore it further, the following questions may require your consideration:
• How much time will be necessary and do you have the time available?
• What are the learning requirements?
• What is the cost? If you are on a fixed income, certain hobbies may require a sizeable investment. Collections can be costly, depending on what the subject is.
• What are the physical and mental efforts?
• Are travel opportunities available?
• Is it a solo or group activity?
• Is there an intrinsic social value associated with the hobby?

The following are some additional suggestions for you to consider in terms of pursuing your passions:

The Arts
My reference to the arts can be considered an all-inclusive term that involves many endeavors. All of the areas have in common the human creative impulse.

The area of visual arts can include drawing, painting, photography, and calligraphy. Language and literature can be considered a literary art.

Then there are the performing arts like music, dance, opera, film, theatre, acting, puppetry and more. This area can even include comedy, magic, and juggling.

If you possess any sort of artistic talent, your local public schools may be glad to have you aboard. The benefits your work would present to the students self-esteem and self-confidence is great. Most districts have a volunteer office.

Other suggestions for volunteering can include:
• literacy assistance
• volunteering with your pet
• RV (recreational vehicle) volunteering
• virtual volunteering
• voluntourism (immersion travel)

A most important consideration for potential collectors is to think about what your passions are. Collecting can certainly involve having multiple objects of the same kind. Look around you! You may already have small collections of some things.

Popular collectibles for those of us over the age of 55 include the following:
• coins & paper money – Coin collecting can be a great deal of fun, and, it can certainly be profitable. You can begin your collection right from your pocket change or you can build a collection of classic coins by buying from dealers, as long as they are honest. Log onto the American Numismatic Association website. Also check coinland.com.

• sports memorabilia (see baseball cards below)
• toys & hobbies: model railroad, trains
• decorative collectibles
• pottery & glass
• military collectibles
• art: art from dealers & resellers
• antiques – This hobby can readily keep you in touch with the history and great beauty of our past. Learning about the culture and history of an item can be very educational and entertaining. The items you collect can indeed be anything. Experts agree that the first steps should involve a basic learning experience. That may readily come in the form of reading books. There are hundreds of books on antique collecting. The more you read the more comfortable you will be with the terms used and the value of individual items. Log onto antiquecollectorsclub.com and infoplease.com for good resources.
• arrowheads
• autographs – historical figures, entertainers, sports figures, musicians, (autographcollector.com)
• baskets – straw, wicker, bar, wooden, (basketmakers.com)
• baseball cards – These cards can be highly collectible because they are worth lots of money, especially if they’ve been around a long time. You begin collecting at baseball card shows. Or, you can look into a company’s website or even visit a shop. You can check out more sports collectibles below.
• bells
• birdhouses – design and build your own individual houses
• books – This hobby includes activities such as acquiring, organizing, cataloging, storing, and maintaining books of interest. The books can involve rare, first edition, and signed editions. Book collecting can be easy and inexpensive. Prices generally depend on the demand for a given book. New books are readily available online. Many bookstores specialize in out-of-print, used, and antique books. Check out tappinbookmine.com.
• bottles

The list can go on and on. Consider the nature of your passions.

Pursue a Hobby While Traveling
If you are looking for an interesting and fun way to pursue a hobby, consider the challenge of doing so while traveling. You will enjoy the best of both worlds. And, these offerings are a great way to learn and have fun.

Examples include:
Ghost Ranch (ghostranch.org) – Ghost Ranch is located on 21,000 idyllic acres in Abiquiu, New Mexico. A large variety of courses are offered.
Folk School (folkschool.org) – Folk school offers courses that are non-competitive in a community setting that are “joyful and enlivening.” Their curriculum includes crafts, art, music, dance, cooking, woodcarving, gardening, nature studies, photography, and writing.
Eldertreks (eldertreks.com) – This is one of my favorite organizations. They specialize in small group travel adventures around the world for the over 50 crowd. In fact, the largest a group can be is 16. So, this is a great source of hobby travel.

Enjoy your creative lifestyle and keep on learning!

Art Collectibles – The Beautiful Hobby

A lot of people find great joy in accumulating collectibles and a one of the areas that has always been popular is art collectibles. There are a lot of different things that can be painted to turn them into art and one day they may well become a collectible. Hobby buffs accumulate such things as old furniture, dishes, holiday decorations, and figurines as well as paintings.

Most of these hobbyists have a preferred artist whose works they appreciate. Some will accumulate only their items, and some like to gather the works of many creators. Yet another group tends to go for art and art objects around a particular theme they are into, such as elephants, clocks, or orchestra music.

You might consider an art collector to be a wealthy person who has the wherewithal to lay out big money for an original done by Leonardo da Vinci, but one with a lesser bank account can easily be a collector of art too. Take post cards, for example. A lot of the gift shops in art museums offer top notch, glossy postcards printed with some of their more prominent additions. By purchasing those highly valued cards anybody can start their own art collection.

Online auction sites are good places to find art collectibles, no matter what it is that you like to collect. The truth is that there is so much available on these sites that a beginner may well be overwhelmed! Just keep in mind that you don’t just have to be a buy, you can sell your items as well. This would give you more money with which to increase your investments in your hobby. But don’t just stop at online auctions, try garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets.

A great benefit of art collectibles is that artists can be found in all over the world. If this is your hobby, you should check out the local artist’s hangouts, museums, and art shows to find out who the area talent is. Sometimes their work can be had for a song. Because of the local flavor of some artwork, these can make good travel souvenirs. For example, some artists specialize in paintings of buildings, parks and landmarks around major cities. You can usually find local artists almost anywhere.

A hobby in art collection will not only keep you interested in life, but also provide you with a home full of wonderful masterpieces. If you enjoy an environment full of attractive and out of the ordinary things, this may be the hobby for you.