Safe Massage for People in Care (SM4PC)


I promised to keep you informed about how our project was progressing to design, develop and deliver a new Program for our OM2 Graduates working in residential or home care. Once again, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on our 2021 Course Delivery Program and, as a former nurse, our Melbourne-based Course Developer was roped into the Victorian Vaccination Program. We are determined to develop the Safe Massage for People in Care Program. We will keep you informed of developments.

In the meantime, given the holiday season is almost upon us, you may wish to look at our therapists' reading list compiled from a range of sources.


I promised to keep you informed about how our project was progressing to design, develop and deliver a new Program for our OM2 Graduates working in residential or home care. COVID-19 threw our 2020 plans into disarray. The development of the Safe Massage for People in Care Program - which was the basis for our 2018 Crowdfunding Program and to which so many generously contributed - was put on hold for 12 months. As of Jan/2021, our Melbourne-based Course Developer is back in the saddle.

Most people find massage a wonderful experience - and many experts now believe that touch is probably the last of our senses to close down when we die. OML has always known that oncology massage can be a powerful and effective intervention for people in care, not just those with a history or a diagnosis of cancer. This Program will help our Graduates provide mindful, safe and effective relief from various conditions including stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, loneliness, and physical disconnection - as well as relief from chronic pain, constipation, scar tightness, lymphoedema, and some muscular and skin conditions.

This Program may include study elements that are suitable for carers and care workers who do not have professional qualifications in either Remedial Massage, Bowen Therapy, or Myotherapy. But first things first...let's get the Pogram developed. Given that we are still in a COVID-19 Pandemic, I make no promises about when the Program will go live but please be assured that OML is doing the best it can at the moment.

After a very tough 2020 with 23 of our 32 scheduled Oncology Massage Courses canceled, we are entering 2021 with some tentative optimism. The first Course for the year starts at the Marymount Mercy Centre in Castle Hill on Fri 5/Feb/2021. In the first quarter of 2021, OML has 5 further Courses scheduled and well-subscribed in Sydney (3), Townsville (1) and Cairns (1). We also have Courses planned in Canberra, Goulburn, Melbourne, Adelaide, Gold Coast/Tweed, and Toowoomba.

If you are interested in enrolling for this Program or would like more information, please email OML and we will get back to you.


Former OML Facilitator and Melbourne-Based OM4 Graduate Marie Lapiejko has been engaged to develop the documentation for this training program.  A small group of interested OM4 graduates have also agreed to participate as a volunteer Project Sounding Board.  We aim to complete the Program documentation before 30/Jun/2020, and pilot the Program in the second half of 2020.

OML is currently in conversation with several organisations who have expressed an interest in being involved.  These organisations may well accelerate the program delivery schedule, so stay tuned for further details!

If you are interested in enrolling for this Program, please register your interest now - email OML and we will add your name to the Program Wait List.


The Federal Parliamentary Friends of Palliative Care Group which was established in 2008 has been re-established following the 2019 Federal Election. The Group is currently convened jointly by the ALP Senator for Tasmania Catryna Bilyk [ALP, TAS], and the Hon Nola Marino MP [Liberal Member for Forrest, WA].  Palliative Care Australia have added OML to the Members List so we were pleased to attend the first Meeting on the evening of Mon 24/Feb/2020 at Parliament House. 

OML is also exploring connections with a number of other Federal Parliamentary Friendship Groups including:

  • Parliamentary Friends of Ageing and Aged Care – Senator Dean Smith [Liberal, WA], Ged Kearney MP [ALP Member for Cooper, VIC]

  • Parliamentary Friends of Cancer Care and Cure – Senator Deborah O'Neill [ALP, NSW], Dr Katie Allen MP [Liberal Member for Higgins, VIC]

  • Parliamentary Friends of Carers - Emma McBride MP [ALP Member for Dobell, NSW], Craig Kelly MP [Liberal Member for Hughes, NSW], Senator Rachel Siewert [Greens, WA]

  • Parliamentary Friends of Complementary and Traditional Therapies - Senator Stirling Griff [Centre Alliance, SA], Rebekha Sharkie MP [Centre Alliance Member for Mayo, SA]

  • Parliamentary Friends of Dementia - Andrew Laming MP [LNP Member for Bowman, QLD], Senator Helen Polley [ALP, TAS].


Tania Shaw and David Bailey attended the first Oceanic Palliative Care Conference held in Perth from 10-13/Sep/2019, and launched a new "Massage Training for People Working in Care" poster and a new brochure for those seeking the benefits of gentle touch massage for people in frail health.

David, Tania, & Ronna Moore at the OML Booth

There were close to 1,000 delegates attending and we were swamped with interest during the “Welcome Experience”.  The swamping may have been for the free samples of Massage Balm that Tui Balms had kindly donated, but they stayed to listen to the Oncology Massage story.

We got our message across about massage therapy for people in care to many people and we came home with significantly less brochures and business cards than we went with.  OML’s key takeaways from the Conference were as follows:

  • Care v Cure - the ongoing discussions about the balance between treatment and comfort, and the transition from cure to care - valuing the lived experience of people caught up in the palliative care process and recognising the value of Complementary Therapies  

  • Advance Care Planning - the medical establishment's sometimes lukewarm response to Advance Care Planning, and the attempts by patients, families and carers to take control of palliative and end-of-life processes

  • Voluntary Assisted Dying & Euthanasia - "the true measure of a society is how they treat their most vulnerable people; no-one should have to choose Voluntary Assisted Dying because of a lack of access to quality palliative care" - the gaping hole in the availability, accessibility and affordability of palliative care

  • Palliative Care in Collectivist Communities - "when you are well, you belong to yourself; when you are sick, you belong to your family" and "when people are everything, money is nothing" - modern Western cultures may have a lot to learn from this

  • Storytelling - the personal stories of palliative care from the wife and aunty of Jarrod Lyle, the young Australian professional golfer who passed away in 2018 after three bouts of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia over 20 years

  • Profit v Care - the battle that is being fought out in real time in Residential Aged Care Facilities across the country, and has been exposed in the Royal Commission into Aged Care - "decision-making in favour of people's health not corporate profits"

  • Creativity and Innovation - the multitude of little things that organisations across the globe are doing to help people caught up in the palliative care process - from compassionate office spaces in Brisbane, Ambulance Wish in Queensland, non-custodial palliative care in many different communities, and pets in palliative care, to the use of non-commercial kitchens in hospices.

OML is preparing for what might occur in the palliative care space - the value of care and touch is very widely accepted and recognised and, despite rumours to the contrary, touch is the probably last sense to go when a person dies.


OML has always known that our Oncology Massage modality can be a powerfully effective intervention for most people in frail health, not just those with a history or a diagnosis of cancer.  In early 2018, OML started to consider the development of a new training program to meet the needs of massage therapists working with people in Residential Aged Care with comorbidities such as cancer, dementia, chronic pain, etc.

Subsequently, OML has consulted with a number of peak organisations including Dementia Australia (ACT)Pain Australia, and Palliative Care Australia (ACT).  We have been encouraged by their support have been provided with much valuable information.

In Sep/2018, OML brought together a number of our most qualified and experienced Oncology Massage Therapists - Tania Shaw, Tubi Oyston, Ronna Moore, and Cathie Stoffell - to discuss and start designing the Massage Training for People Working in Care Program.

In Oct/2018, OML kicked off a Crowdfunding Campaign and raised over $4,000 for the development of this Program.  And in Nov/2018, under the leadership of Tania Shaw, OML commissioned the Massage Training for People Working in Care Project (MT4PWC) to develop the Course Documentation

In Jan/2019, OML was invited to present and exhibit at the first Oceanic Palliative Care Conference to be held in Perth from 10-13/Sep/2019.  The invitation has been gratefully accepted and Tania Shaw and David Bailey will be attending.

In Feb/2019, a draft of the Course Material was submitted for comment to our internal Project Board.  Feedback is currently being incorporated into the Course Documentation.

Get a Wicking Good Headstart!

You will be learning more about Dementia from industry experts during this Course. Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and, with an estimated 250 people joining the population with it each day, our graduates may already be working with those exhibiting signs and symptoms of Dementia without realising it.

You can get a really Wicking head start by enrolling for the University of Tasmania Wicking Dementia Centre's Understanding Dementia MOOC.  A MOOC is not a furry marsupial - it's a Massive Open Online Course - it's free, it's open to anybody regardless of training or experience, and it's online - but it's no pushover.  This particular MOOC is recognised worldwide, and has made our "Highly Recommended Further Learning" list.

Please follow this link to find out about the next Understanding Dementia MOOC.  Having recently completed the course, I can honestly say that it has helped me to understand what my Mum, my family, her friends, and and her carers went through before she passed away.  I wish I could have finished it before she was diagnosed. More information on the topics you will be discussing on this Course can be found on the following websites:

Project Funding via Community Rewards

The quarterly contributions from the Canberra Southern Cross Club Community Rewards Program for which OML is very grateful continue to be allocated to this Project.

If you live in or around the ACT and you are a member of the Canberra Southern Cross Club, link your membership number to Oncology Massage Limited here or ask Club Reception to help you out, and $7.50 of every $100 you spend at the Club will go to straight to OML. This Program has contributed around $60,000 to OML over the last few years.

If you would like to financially contribute directly to the development of this worthwhile Project, please do so here.

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