Massage Therapy is Eddi Goldberg Perlis’ 4th life career. However, it is the one which she is most passionate for. She began her life careers as a French Teacher for junior high and high school students before she took a short break to have her two amazing daughters. Upon returning to the job market, she administered Employee Benefits programs for various private and public organizations for almost 20 years. Finally, she worked in her husband’s Elder Law firm for 15 years until illness forced the practice to close.
At the ripe young age of 62, Eddi decided to go to Massage Therapy School at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. It was no easy feat going to school at her age. Mostly everyone in the class was under the age of 30. Whereas most of the others in her class were interested in working with athletes and doing deep tissue massage, she searched for other modalities to practice. She believed that massage was part of the body-mind-spirit triad. Fortunately, one of her instructors encouraged her to continue to search for the perfect technique for her.
Initially, she worked with geriatrics which is an umbrella term for anyone, no matter what the person’s age who may have been diagnosed with Dementia, Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, Diabetes or Stroke. She received her certification in Geriatric Massage from the Day-Break Geriatric Institute in Indianapolis, IN. In addition, she was encouraged to work with cancer patients and has been trained in oncology massage. Her instructor was trained in India. Eddi was taught to integrate oncology massage with acupressure and reflexology. Shortly after, she received her massage license as she was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. You would probably not be surprised to learn that in addition to chemotherapy, she also had massage, acupuncture and reflexology. Eddi has been cancer free almost 5 years and this experience led her to her work with hospice patients.
One of her first hospice patients was her father. Next to having her two daughters, the experience of massaging her father at the end of his life was a true blessing.
Being a part of the Transitions team has been a wonderful experience for Eddi. The program has grown a great deal in the past 3 years as team members continually learn the value of touch at the end of life. In addition, Eddi has learned much about hospice care from the nursing and social work staff. Hospice massage is unlike any other type of massage. Each session is different depending on the patient. A massage therapist can never go in with a preconceived notion of what the session will be like.
Many times, the massage is a method of calming the patient. It includes working with dementia patients and talks to families to find out a patient’s likes and dislikes. The likes are then integrated into the session. For example, one of Eddi’s patients was significantly agitated but when the patient heard Peter Paul and Mary music, he sang along. When Eddi massaged his neck, he fell asleep.
Other times, not only is the massage important, but so is the conversation if the patient needs to talk. After every session, charting notes are made and are put in the patient’s files. Eddi also contacts the Transitions team and lets them know in greater detail what transpired. Transitions truly uses the team approach to patient care.
Eddi is passionate about what she does and provides that perfect combination of empathy, compassion, and humor with her clients and her dedication is truly appreciated by the team.
When she is not assisting her clients or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her two amazing daughters and their growing families. She is happiest when she is being “Mimi” to her 4 grandchildren. She enjoys off loom bead weaving, yoga, gardening (in warm weather), and spending time with her Portuguese Water Dog.