Michele Camille: Oncology Massage
Michele Camille spent nearly 20 years in pharmaceuticals, medical fundraising and drug development prior to becoming a licensed massage therapist. When her last job concluded, Camille felt the need to reevaluate her personal beliefs in wellness and holistic care and somehow provide a bridge between western and eastern medicine. She had focused on the western side of medicine for so long, and knew its importance, but also realized there was much untapped in the field of wellness and self-care. Camille finally felt she was in the time and place where she could somehow bridge her knowledge of western medicine and passion for eastern modalities.
After pausing for a period, Camille decided to pursue massage therapy school. She attended the Institute for Therapeutic Massage, in Red Bank, New Jersey, where she focused on oncology massage. Having close family members who had been affected by cancer, this modality spoke to Camille’s heart in a distinct way.
At Mary’s Place by the Sea, oncology massage, or therapeutic touch, focuses on the needs of a person at any point in their cancer journey. Oncology massage was one of the very first services Mary’s Place by the Sea offered to its guests. Here, the modality focuses on compassionate, therapeutic touch and the safety of guests following chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and lymph node removal.
“Personally, I think oncology massage is very important. It can often be the first time that someone has been touched outside of a necessary procedure through healing, compassionate touch following intensive treatment. Women can often feel more calm, invigorated, and determined following the rest and pause associated with an oncology massage.”
Oncology massage has been found to reduce fatigue, improve sleep and potentially decrease some of the side effects of chemotherapy. Massage can also aid in detoxification, pain reduction, increased lymph flow and enhanced immune function, and contribute to a woman’s overall sense of well-being. Therapeutic touch can give a woman undergoing cancer treatment those essential moments to simply breathe and receive.
“During an oncology massage at Mary’s Place, often women have the space and quiet to tune in and listen to their bodies to determine what truly feels right to them and to take their next steps with confidence, grace, and ease. These are precious moments where we hope we have contributed to someone’s overall sense of well-being,” said Camille.
Camille feels an overwhelming sense of gratitude from the opportunity to work with the founders, volunteers, staff, and most of all the guests at Mary’s Place by the Sea.
“It’s the most raw, connected, intimate, real place that I know. It is incredibly rewarding to contribute to people on this level of intimacy and vulnerability; I am constantly inspired by our guests' depth and courage. Working with our guests has changed my life forever, in ways that words don’t truly capture. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute and honor our guests and their profound journeys.”