If I Were JFK’s Massage Therapist

November 22, 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. There have been several shows discussing the Kennedy White House years on television as the anniversary nears. One piece I saw discussed how much pain he was in from day to day. From the brace he wore under his clothes to the pill popping cocktail he ingested every day, I am convinced that massaging John F. Kennedy would be a massage therapist’s dream:

Just take off that back brace, John, and let me try some connective tissue work on it in a very light manner. With proper bolstering, we can ease the pain in your fifth lumbar vertebra where two operations had already been performed. You can even employ some of these bolstering techniques while you sleep instead of relying on a piece of plywood that was wedged under your mattress for support. The post-op exercises and physical therapy introduced to you by the orthopedic surgeon is what has helped you recover this far. Why not continue with these alternative methods and make a 90-minute massage session a part of your regular weekly routine?

Senator John F. Kennedy wears a back brace as he sits on the patio in Palm Beach, Florida.
Senator John F. Kennedy wears a back brace as he sits on the patio in Palm Beach, Florida.

Using Swedish massage strokes will induce hyperemia on the skin which turns it pink from blood flow being brought to the area. It will bring about better mobility than you ever thought possible. Simple tasks like reaching across your desk or removing your socks and shoes may not require any assistance in the months to come. Releasing endorphins through each massage session may control some of the symptoms felt from the Addison’s disease and it will actually allow you to feel good. An elbow placed over top of the sheet and into your gluteal muscle along with rotation of the limb will loosen and unkink any adhesions in those tissues. It will increase your range of motion, improve posture, and you will look forward to this massage technique more than the steroid shots you receive in that same area.

You will get way more mileage from compression work as the heels of the hands are placed on your muscle bellies to shift and unblock energy and thumb pressure on source points along specific energy paths that correspond to the body’s organs. By dispersing trapped or blocked energy along the body’s energy paths, your organs will function better. The digestive problems you’ve been having may seem like they are less of an obstacle because organs like the lung, large intestine, stomach and spleen have been nourished with healing energy, stretching, and finger pressure.

Consider this a sports massage session to help with those old sports injuries from playing football with your family. Plain water in-take after each massage session will release a lot of the toxins in your body. As much plain water in-take as possible will rid your body of the toxins created from the arsenal of medications you take every day. You may find that they only complicate your health issues and it may be best to try and reduce the number of medications. Take it day by day.

You’ve shown incredible strength in your ability to conceal your pain and take the country in the right direction. The grogginess, depression and occasional mood swing brought about from the side effects of your medication hasn’t made the journey easier. Migraines seem to be a part of the struggle to stay strong and remain focused. A scalp massage and pressure point work on the face will address tension headaches, migraine headaches, and sinus problems keeping them at bay for a longer period of time. The serotonin released in your brain during regular massage sessions can lift depression and clear away haziness in the brain.

“The issues are in the tissues,” is a phrase I have come to know and understand as a body worker. We hold emotions in our tissues and look towards a massage session that will relieve tension and promote better health. The goal is to improve your well-being, making you less dependent on medications and the need for your back brace. -CLS