Touch/Ability Introduces People with Disabilities to the Healing Arts
Touch/Ability community service organization connects the art of touch and healing to people with disabilities. It also offers alternative health care practitioners an opportunity to learn to work safely and effectively with individuals who have special needs due to loss of strength, mobility, and/or sensation.
In Tucson, people with disabilities are discovering natural ways to improve the quality of their lives. Tracy has designed a model experiential learning program that encourages people with disabilities and special needs to develop a healing relationship with themselves and their community.
People with special needs have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Their physical conditions range from arthritis to quadriplegia, from blindness to epilepsy.
As people with disabilities experience touch therapies, they begin to take charge of their emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness. Current literature highlights numerous benefits gained by individuals who use alternative therapies. These benefits include prevention of injury and illness, reduction of the stress response, and relief of pain.
Many disabled people claim alternative therapies help them deal more effectively with chronic tension, depression, and secondary complications that result from their primary condition.
As one might expect, people with disabilities are interested in anything that might improve the quality of their lives. Alternative therapies have much to offer physically challenged individuals, both mentally and physically. Persons with congenital conditions, such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida, experience relief from chronic pain. Survivors of traumatic accidents with head, neck or spinal cord injuries have discovered that massage therapy and hypnotherapy relieve stress.
People with neuromuscular degenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy find that bodywork improves flexibility and range-of-motion. Aqua-therapy, acupuncture and shiatsu have helped seniors with arthritis and other conditions.
Healing Arts Program
DIRECT Center for Independence offers project director Tracy Williams the use of their facilities to conduct the Touch/Ability Healing Arts Program. Since March 1997, Touch/Ability has conducted 32 group sessions.
Over 30 volunteer practitioners have given over 200 individual treatments to 42 people with a variety of disabilities. A full waiting list indicates community interest in the program. More and more disabled people are seeking holistic methods for their personal growth.
All Touch/Ability practitioners complete a thorough application and screening process to establish their credentials. The practitioners outline their specific goals and objectives to learn while in the program. They receive individualized training in a supervised group setting. All massage therapists must meet the local licensing criteria and agree to adhere to the professional standards outlined by the American Massage Therapy Association's Code of Ethics.
Until the project acquires equipment and supplies, the practitioners provide their own. These trained practitioners witness exceptional people transform and move beyond their perceived limitations.
The project director interviews all applicants and evaluates their readiness to participate in theprogram. All clients take the following steps prior to enrollment.
First, they complete an Intake Interview by telephone and/or in person to assess their condition and needs, outline specific goals, and discuss the nature of receiving bodywork. Secondly, they sign Commitment Contracts and Release Forms. Thirdly, they seek documentation of their condition, prior to receiving bodywork, from their physicians, chiropractors, or other primary care providers. Finally, all clients agree to fill out a Bodywork Evaluation after each session.
In exchange for services, clients make a donation to the program. In Tucson, the approximate cost for a one-hour massage therapy session is $45, so a suggested donation of $5 to $25 for the two-hour session is reasonable for most clients.
One regular client, who owns a silk-screen business, donates custom printed T-shirts with the Touch/Ability logo on the front. Practitioners seeking continuing education credit pay a fee for the training and materials.
Join their on-going continuing education workshops in Tucson or contact Tracy for informaton about bringing Touch/Ability to your community.
3161 W. Mojean Street
Tucson, AZ 85745