The Power of Physiotherapy and Universal Medicine in Palliative Care

by Gill Randall, Physiotherapist, Grad Dip Phys, Banbury, UK

I work as a physiotherapist in palliative care. Now, physiotherapy and palliative care are not always words that we might put together. I have often received perplexed looks when telling people where I work initially, and the response often comes with ‘how sad and dreary that must be’, but no, on the contrary, that is not true. However, I do understand their confusion. Physiotherapy is associated with healing, recovering, getting better, or rehabilitation. Palliative care can imply coming towards the end of life, giving up or giving in at the end of the journey. But I consider that we all have the opportunity to learn or to feel a difference in life, right until our last breath, and in the hospice environment, we aim to keep people as well as possible, even in the last days of life.

Life is the journey that we are all on to learn and to evolve. This isn’t a ladder going upwards, it’s often a reflection back for us to observe.

What we don’t learn in this lifetime, we will be shown again in the next one. What I have observed is that most palliative care patients are in a place of being very open to understanding this. As their present life is closing in, they are more willing to be aware of what they chose not to feel and see when they were well.

This is sometimes uncomfortable depending how they have lived, but sometimes there is an acceptance of their situation. They have often been on a rocky journey throughout their illness, have had a number of different treatments of radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, been faced with lots of decisions, but also had many hopes and dreams raised and fallen.

No matter where we are or what our beliefs, the wake up call of a diagnosis of a life-limiting disease is going to stop most people in their tracks, to evaluate their lives and how they have been living. Some will feel passive and blame their genetics, bad luck, or feel guilt; others will be more open and philosophical about their situation. I have observed that many have an awareness that their past decisions may have affected this lifetime. For example, someone who has been a heavy smoker may be dying of lung cancer and become aware that their actions from the past have contributed to their illness. This awareness seems heightened at the end of life with all the emotions it may bring, sometimes regret, sadness or grief, sometimes frustration or anger that their lives have been curtailed and at other times, an acceptance of ‘it is what it is’.

As a physiotherapy practitioner, I bring my energy to support them physically, to aid their mobility, to assist the gentle movement of their limbs, to assess what walking aid they need, to encourage them on the parallel bars or up the stairs, and to keep them as well as can be.

As a person, I support the nurses and health care assistants, the doctors, the caterers, the gardeners and the administration staff as to how we can all look after ourselves. I am in a team of moving and handling trainers and in this mandatory annual training, we discuss how we can care for ourselves first and foremost and how this is our responsibility.

As a student of The Way of The Livingness, I bring my understanding of the bigger picture of life and death for everyone to feel how death is not the end of the road; we have many lifetimes and they are simply coming to the end of this lifetime in the cycle of lives and deaths. When someone receives a deep treatment of Esoteric Connective Tissue therapy with me, they may not have had a cure for their illness in this lifetime, but they have a choice to connect to something that they can feel is inside them, and receive a great healing if they choose to accept this. When they feel this to be true, they become very accepting of their present journey and can sometimes let go of a lot of their emotional reactions.

The energy of the hospice is one of support to the staff, the patients and their close family and friends who are also affected. These people have been supporting the person with cancer for many months or years and are often completely exhausted. They are usually very relieved that their loved one is out of the hubbub of the acute medical system and often feel the state of calm as they enter the door, but there is also sometimes a raised awareness that this may be the final move on the journey for their loved one and all the staff are very supportive of them.

I am greatly appreciative to my colleagues, working together in a multi-disciplinary team in a loving and lovely environment. And I am ever-grateful to Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, for showing me the way to reconnect to the love that lives within me, and within us all, for the teachings on self-care that offered the steps to that love, for the wonderful healing modalities, in particular Esoteric Connective Tissue therapy, and for re-awakening me to the bigger picture of life and death, that allows me to work with dying people with such grace and joy.

Read more:

  1. Sacred Esoteric Healing: True Health Care
  2. Fixing or Healing – which do you choose? 

584 thoughts on “The Power of Physiotherapy and Universal Medicine in Palliative Care

  1. The very idea that its not worth treating someone who is dying is a terrible one. We all need to stay committed and never give up even until our final breath. This is how we can ensure that our next life is not less in quality than this life. Yes it is never too late for a huge realisation that changes everything.

  2. The way that we are cared for at the end of life is really important and having people like you Gill caring for those who are reaching the end of their life is vital if we are to make the most of the opportunity that is offered at the end of life should we choose it.

  3. I can feel the grace with which you work Gill and in doing so you are offering such a deep healing to those in the final stages of their lives. What a priceless gift for them as they come to terms with the ending of this life and whether they realise it or not, a beautiful foundation for their next one.

  4. It really is extraordinary what is offered from a session given in a quality that comes from a true connection to who we are.

  5. I do think it’s really important that people remember to take equal care for themself when caring for another like you describe in your team of moving and handling trainers – to not disregard their body, as that just isn’t sustainable.

  6. Lots of different health disciplines have something to offer palliative care patients. We may think that physio is about giving exercises, so what would the point be with someone who is dying? The important thing is that people can be dying for a long time and until the moment they die that are actually living. They are living in a body that can change from day to day so understanding their body and developing a relationship with their body especially as it undergoes immense change is very valuable. This is where I see physiotherapy as hugely valuable for palliative care clients. They may no longer be able to do lengthy exercises, but they can certainly have a relationship with their body until the moment of their last breath.

  7. As far as I am concerned, every single one of us deserves the utmost level of care, honouring and love until our final breath in this life. Unfortunately, this is not always the case so ensuring that many miss out on what could be possible. The systems in place for palliative and aged care in most places are wonderful but from my experience there is often still a lack of understanding and honouring of what is unfolding for the patient.

  8. Palliative care can be an opportunity for someone nearing the end of this life to deeply reflect on the cause and effect of the way they have been living and to be met with love and no judgement for who they are.

  9. Very very true, it supports with the ability to connect to another in their cycle of death/passing over. For a deeper understanding of life cycles gives us a grander approach to serve and support people at length. For how can one truly support another without understanding their cycles and its relationship with people around them. A whole- approach is needed.

  10. I simply loved reading “in this mandatory annual training, we discuss how we can care for ourselves first and foremost and how this is our responsibility.” So often carers overlook their own care and end up in ill-health or even injured. But to me it makes sense that when we care deeply for ourselves the quality of care that we then can offer to another is increased exponentially.

  11. What a blessing to have you being there Gill…all it takes is one person to drop the pebble into the pond, the ripples will always radiate out and connect with everyone.

  12. Gill thank you for your sharing, it is so important not to see death as the end but the beginning of a new cycle, and how as we come closer to the end we are more understanding of what is offered to us, and the lessons we have learnt or are still to learn, acceptance is a beautiful thing.

  13. I love how you are addressing the whole where you work Gill, not only assisting with your great skills, but bringing all of you to that place. Just incredible!

  14. What an amazing job you have, Gill. And I totally agree with you – connecting deeply with the essence of who we truly are would be a great support to those who are close to passing, and I would definitely want to receive esoteric healing sessions when my time comes.

  15. I LOVE this blog Gill, and I absolutely love what you are doing, assisting the very elderly in their dying process in helping their movement, and also what you say you are doing with the rest of the staff: ‘As a person, I support the nurses and health care assistants, the doctors, the caterers, the gardeners and the administration staff as to how we can all look after ourselves. I am in a team of moving and handling trainers and in this mandatory annual training, we discuss how we can care for ourselves first and foremost and how this is our responsibility.’ Just wonderful. I wonder if this happens in all palliative care organisations in the UK?

  16. No matter how we come to the end of our life each and every one of us has the right to be honoured for the beautiful being that we are until our last breath. Each day will still bring opportunities for us to learn from others and for others to learn from us. And the more we come to understand about ourselves in this final passage of our life the easier will be our transition to the next.

  17. “As their present life is closing in, they are more willing to be aware of what they chose not to feel and see when they were well.” Thank you for this observation Gill, it’s a reminder that we cannot take anything for granted, that every moment of life can be appreciated.

      1. I find it hugely inspiring to observe just that Christoph, the choice to respond with continued and deepening embrace of all that our last years offer.

  18. “Life is the journey that we are all on to learn and to evolve. This isn’t a ladder going upwards, it’s often a reflection back for us to observe.
    What we don’t learn in this lifetime, we will be shown again in the next one.”
    If we were to be taught this as children, that our life does not end when we pass over, we would have a completely different approach to how we live. How refreshing and inspiring Gill that you are offering this to the patients you work with, that they have the opportunity to understand that there is so much more to life and death, before they leave their current life behind and potentially bring that with them into their next one.

    1. Sandra it would certainly change the way and the reasons for learning at school, the whole focus would be turned around and re-examined as to what and why we teach our children.

  19. Beautiful to hear how much joy, vitality, energy and enthusiasm you have for your job here Gill when so many would be exhausted or stressed working in that environment. And yes what a blessing for your colleagues and clients – for it must be truly inspiring to have such a person around when you are dying.

  20. I love how you bring the combined qualities of the different areas of your life to your job Gill, and what a beautiful combination they are. A true blessing for anyone who receives any one of them.

  21. “When someone receives a deep treatment of Esoteric Connective Tissue therapy with me, they may not have had a cure for their illness in this lifetime, but they have a choice to connect to something that they can feel is inside them, and receive a great healing if they choose to accept this.” What a beautiful offering this is Gill to anyone who receives it, regardless of whether they choose to accept it or not.

  22. How awesome is it to have mandatory annual training as a team where you all discuss how important it is when caring for another that we first care for ourselves.

  23. I heard a lovely discussion with an Indian doctor this morning who specialises in palliative care in a country where pain relief is not the norm and certainly not widely available. And this afternoon I heard, in a presentation from Serge Benhayon, what takes place as we prepare to die. This is a critical time of life, to be supported at every level. The work you are doing is superbly supportive Gill.

  24. What I felt from your discussion of your work Gill is if a patient who is in the last stage of their life is willing to continue with physiotherapy, they are preparing themselves to be fit for their next life, for even though they will obviously be in another body, the vitality, quality and willingness we pass over with will be what we return with in our next life. Love your work.

  25. “As a student of The Way of The Livingness, I bring my understanding of the bigger picture of life and death for everyone to feel how death is not the end of the road; we have many lifetimes and they are simply coming to the end of this lifetime in the cycle of lives and deaths. ” I see this palpably in my work on a maternity ward. Some of the newborn babies are so obviously reflecting their past life in their faces. Some seem so peaceful and calm and some are tormented it would seem. The cycle continues…..

  26. Beautiful to read your blog today Gill, I so felt the care and support you and the palliative team offer in your words, there is so much that can be offered to those who are about to pass over preparing them for their return, where we get to readdress many choices from the past that we have made.

  27. It is a shame that many require an illness to recognize the part they have played in contributing to their ill however it is a blessing nonetheless, for any awareness and learning in those moments allows for the inspiration to then move differently from that moment on. We often don’t realise the enormous power of our choices until they have accumulated but each step is of paramount importance in carving out a life of unsettlement or suffering… or one of true quality.

  28. This is a beautiful sharing Gill, and one I feel would support many who are in a similar situation either as a patient or family carer. What a wonderful work situation you share and contribute to. You offer so much to all the lives you touch with your work and wisdom.

  29. Death is an incredible opportunity to strip away all the fluff we get caught up in during the life and get back to the big, simple questions. What are our relationships like, how much love is there in our lives – either of ourselves of others. It all gets reflected back and no room to wriggle, but plenty of opportunities to do things differently.

  30. I didn’t really know much about palliative care before reading your blog. I suppose I have never met someone that works in the industry nor have I had anyone close to me use this service. I am not over exaggerating when I say, this deeply warmed my heart, it was so touching. The way that you care for your patients and staff equally and the true passion you have in helping people release and heal as such as possible before they pass, is just stunning.

  31. I can imagine that some people view palliative care as simply caring for someone in their last days and therefore cannot see much point in assisting them develop more mobility, but if we viewed palliative care as a preparation for our next life, which in many ways it is, perhaps we would view it very differently.

  32. Surrender is the word that comes to me when I think of the last period of life. This is something that may happen or not, but I’m sure that Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy and the quality of your approach to people in the end of their lives has much to do with it.

  33. What a truly wonderful modality Esoteric Connective Tisssue Therapy is, as it offers so much on so many levels not only to the body but to our general state of health and well being. How incredible would it be if this treatment was available and offered across the board for any health condition, both physical or mental. There would undoubtedly be a significant change in our general state of health in society if this was the case.

  34. It is no easy feat, to come face to face with the truth of how we have been living, and to accept that we are the ones that are responsible for making every choice which has delivered us to the point we are at in our lives. There is nothing more healing to have from another, the loving support to explore for ourselves the truth behind our choices. It is a gift to feel that we are held by love as we address our unloving choices and let go of emotions, hurts and beliefs that have led us away from being and living the love we truly are in essence. In this time of transition, preparing to pass over is often filled with anguish and struggle, what a gift it must be Gill to have your support and presence at hand.

  35. Hearing those two together is delicious – why not help people to feel what is going on inside their bodies no matter what age? Whether that is introducing it for the first time (strange but true) or helping them to adapt to the inevitable changes. The opportunity is there for all.

  36. Palliative care is so often seen as the end whereas what you are presenting is that it can be the beginning of the next cycle and it is awesome that you are there to support those who have a recognition of this.

  37. Thank you for sharing Gill it is beautiful to feel what you bring to your workplace not just in the practicalities of what you can offer as a physiotherapist but also in your wider understanding of the cycle of life and death. It is so important to care for our bodies until the end and to support those who are in a caring role both staff and family members and what you are offering is the way forward for palliative care.

  38. “When someone receives a deep treatment of Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy with me, they may not have had a cure for their illness in this lifetime, but they have a choice to connect to something that they can feel is inside them, and receive a great healing if they choose to accept this.” I was witness to exactly this just recently Gill, when I gave someone an Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy treatment. My client, who lives with constant pain and discomfort from chronic arthritis was literally transformed after just one treatment and could not stop expressing how different she felt not only in her body, but also in her general well being. This beautiful, simple but deeply profound treatment literally can be life changing if there is a willingness to accept what is on offer, no matter what stage of life you are at.

  39. When I am on my way out… I most definitely want Gill looking after me… What a blessing this would be… And what a responsibility we have to be providing such wonderful care for everyone

  40. ‘for the teachings on self-care that offered the steps to that love’. Self care is so fundamental to everything in life and yet it is something we often don’t look at until we have an accident or become ill. Where ever we are at with self care, there is still another level to go to, it is an ongoing and ever deepening process. This then builds are appreciation of ourselves and our relationship with ourselves begins to blossom, which is then reflected in our relationship with everyone else. A truly win-win situation.

  41. When we bring a loving quality to what we do, it becomes caring for ourselves and others, so any unlikely relationship is not so unlikely.

  42. Yes there is a much bigger picture of the cycle of life and death than we acknowledge. The quality of how we live will reflect our passing over which will affect our return. What kind of society will our children inherit and we come back to if we let so many live and die checked out and unloved as we do. The world needs a lot more Gill Randalls.

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